Nowra man who blew 0.294 appeals 12-month sentence

A Nowra man jailed for 12 months after pleading guilty to high-range drink driving has appealed the severity of the sentence.

John Thomas Joseph Morrissey, 63, was arrested by police at Pyree around 11am on April 27 and later returned a breath reading of 0.294, almost six times the legal limit.

Court papers said police noticed Morrissey’s van swerving and travelling slowly in a northerly direction on Pyree Lane.

Officers said the van was travelling 50-55km/h in a 80 zone and overtook the vehicle before pulling to the side of the road and attempted to stop it.

Police activated their flashing lights but Morrissey drove past and turned onto Greenwell Point Road, travelling towards Nowra.

Officers stopped the vehicle a short time later and breath-tested Morrissey, who returned a positive result.

Police evidence stated Morrissey smelt strongly of alcohol, his speech was incoherent and slurred and he was staggering.

He allegedly admitted to police he had consumed four cans of beer between 8.30am and 10am while undertaking handyman work at Callala Bay.

A breath analysis at the Nowra police station returned a reading of 0.294.

Morrissey’s record shows it is his fifth drink driving offence, having previously been convicted in 1975, 1976, 2006 and 2008.

At least four of the offences were for high-range drink driving and he had lost his licence on four occasions ranging from one month through to two and four years.

Magistrate Gabriel Fleming sentenced him to 12 months’ jail with a six-month non-parole period. She also disqualified him from driving for three years but ordered he be exempted from the interlock program.

Through his lawyer, Morrissey appealed the severity of the sentence, arguing he was 63 and it would be his first time in custody.

He was granted bail and the matter will be back in court on August 7.

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