Gladstone learner driver found asleep behind the wheel

9th August 2017 10:00 AM
Ethan Patane, 18, pleaded guilty in the Gladstone Magistrates Court to three charges including one count of being in charge of a motor vehicle while over the alcohol limit on a learner licence and unlawful possession of a weapon. Ethan Patane, 18, pleaded guilty in the Gladstone Magistrates Court to three charges including one count of being in charge of a motor vehicle while over the alcohol limit on a learner licence and unlawful possession of a weapon. Ethan Patane

A GLADSTONE magistrate told a young teen it would have been cheaper for him to call taxi after she imposed a hefty $700 fine.

Ethan Patane, 18, pleaded guilty in the Gladstone Magistrates Court to three charges including one count of being in charge of a motor vehicle while over the alcohol limit on a learner licence and unlawful possession of a weapon.

Police prosecutor Gavin Reece said on july 15 at about 4.23am, police saw Patane parked in his vehicle near the Gladstone night life precinct.

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Upon approaching him, the officers realised he was asleep, despite the keys in the ignition and his headlights glaring.

Police woke him up and asked him to provide a blood alcohol content reading; returning .085%.

A licence check also revealed that Patane only held a learner licence, and had been driving without an open-licence holder present and while under the influence of alcohol.

He was asked to step out from the car and police could see an item bulging from his shorts.

Patane was asked to pull it out, revealing him to be in possession of a pair of knuckle dusters.

Defence lawyer Rio Ramos said her client had been out at a night club with a friend.

She said her client had intended to drive home but realise that he wouldn't be able too, and decided to sleep in the car.

She said he found the knuckle dusters while he was out and put them in his pocket to take home.

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Gladstone Magistrate Melanie Ho said while it was clear the young teen had the 'good sense' to pull over and not drive, he was lucky he didn't hurt himself or anyone else.

She noted that as a learner driver he shouldn't have been behind the wheel on his own in the first place, let alone after consuming alcohol.

Ms Ho fined him and disqualified his licence for a month but did not record a conviction.