Not so sober as a judge

Not so sober as a judge

03 March 2012 By Lawyers Weekly

For NSW judge Roderick Howie, it would seem his application of the law was based more along the lines of: "do as I say, not as I do".Howie, a retired Supreme Court judge and currently an acting…

For NSW judge Roderick Howie, it would seem his application of the law was based more along the lines of: "do as I say, not as I do".

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Howie, a retired Supreme Court judge and currently an acting judge in the Court of Appeal, was arrested and charged with mid-range drink driving after he was involved in a collision with a truck and two cars.

Howie veered into oncoming traffic on the morning of 19 May shortly after leaving his house in Beecroft, in Sydney's north-west. The Daily Telegraph reports that he admitted consuming a bottle of wine the night before, and although his blood alcohol level was 0.168 when he was first breathalysed soon after the incident, he was charged with a mid-range offence after recording a blood alcohol level of 0.121 at a local police station.

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Howie pleaded guilty in absentia when his matter was heard in at the Ryde Local Court yesterday (22 June), as he is overseas holidaying in Japan.

He faces a nine-month prison term and a fine of $2200 when he is sentenced on 21 September.

Howie joins fellow wig-wearers such as Justice Marcus Einfeld as a judge caught behaving badly when behind the wheel. His arrest has provoked much comment in the legal world, as he has long been a campaigner for tougher sentences for drink drivers.

In 2004 he was one of five Supreme Court judges that found too much leniency was given to high-range drink drivers when they were sentenced.

"It appears to me that the courts are too ready to reduce the automatic period and to choose the minimum disqualification period as the alternative," he said in 2004, when commenting on a study of 99 drink drivers that were sentenced in local courts.

Folklaw trusts that the good judge is remorseful and hopes that Justice Howie will be able to still get around sans wheels to enjoy the delights of Beecroft (where Folklaw sometimes shows off a well-honed serve and volley game when rubbing shoulders with the north-west glitterati at the Beecroft Lawn Tennis Club).

Not so sober as a judge
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