Gladstone Courthouse.
Gladstone Courthouse.

Dory skipper caught drug driving 10 days after court for same offence

A GLADSTONE man’s career will depend on a Magistrate’s verdict as to whether the drug-driver should lose his licence for repeated drug driving offences.

John Edward Shepherd pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court on Friday to one count of driving a vessel while a relevant drug was present in his saliva.

The court was told Shepherd was intercepted by water police out at the Coral Sea for a drug test on July 19, 2019.

The 52-year-old returned a positive reading to marijuana.

But Shepherd had appeared in Gladstone Magistrates Court just 10 days prior for the same type of offence.

Queensland legislation states it is discretionary whether a magistrate disqualifies a person’s licence for a drug-driving offence in a vessel.

On the first occasion, Shepherd was able to keep his licence.

Magistrate Dennis Kinsella asked defence lawyer Jun Pepito why he shouldn’t disqualify Shepherd from driving a vessel.

Mr Pepito said if Shepherd lost his licence he would lose his job.

Mr Pepito said in the industry if a skipper is disqualified for drug-driving it was impossible to find a job after the disqualification period was up.

However police prosecutor Kelvin Boyd said Shepherd’s criminal history of similar offending “painted a grim picture”.

“He is just not getting the message,” Mr Boyd said.

Mr Kinsella said he would adjourn the matter so Shepherd could provide an affidavit stating he would lose his job and future employability if he lost his licence.

The matters were adjourned to February 14.

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