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Drink-driving judge escapes jail term

Drink-driving judge escapes jail term

Retired New South Wales judge Roderick Howie has been sentenced to 100 hours of community service and received a six-month licence suspension for drink-driving. The Australian reports that at…

Retired New South Wales judge Roderick Howie has been sentenced to 100 hours of community service and received a six-month licence suspension for drink-driving.

The Australian reports that at Ryde Local Court yesterday (21 September), 61-year-old Howie was convicted of mid-range drink-driving, following his involvement in a collision with a truck and two cars on 19 May. The retired judge then recorded a blood-alcohol reading of 0.168 and then a reading of 0.121 at Eastwood police station.

With Howie holidaying in Japan on his 22 June court date, Howie's lawyer pleaded guilty to the offence on his behalf, for which he potentially faced a nine-month prison sentence, a $2,200 fine and the loss of his licence for 12 months.

At the time of the collision, which occurred just a few blocks from his home in Beecroft, Howie was under the influence of a "cocktail of alcohol and medication", including Valium and three types of prescription medication for anxiety and sleeplessness. Howie had also drunk two glasses of scotch and a bottle of wine the night before the accident.

Magistrate Daniel Reiss noted how "painfully ironic" it was to sentence the retired judge for drink-driving given Howie, as an acting judge for the NSW Court of Appeal, had written the guideline judgement for high-range drink-driving.

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