ACT News


Man caught drink-driving twice in one night ruled repeat offender

A driver caught drunk behind the wheel twice in the space of an hour has lost a bid to be classified a first-time offender.

When Brendan James McTernan was pulled over for a second time in the early hours of April 27 he still had the first drug and alcohol pamphlet sticking out of his pocket.

It was a consequence of his earlier brush with the law, just an hour beforehand, when he had been pulled over in Civic and registered a blood-alcohol reading of .129.

McTernan has pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court to two drink driving charges.

The 19-year-old first came to police attention when they spotted him arguing with security outside Mooseheads about 2am.

The officers watched him walk from the club to a car park across London Circuit, where he got in the car and drove out with a woman in the front passenger seat.


They saw him stop outside the club, get out and try and coerce another woman into the car, according to court documents.

Police stopped him and, after McTernan returned a positive reading, gave him an immediate suspension notice and released him from their custody. An hour later officers at the City Police Station heard a vehicle drive past, with the driver honking the horn and a man yelling out the window.

They spotted the same white Ford utility, and noticed the male driver appeared to be making a gesture out the window.

He was again pulled over and subjected to a breath test, which is when police noticed the pamphlet hanging from McTernan's jeans pocket.

In a statement of facts police described the man as having difficulty taking instructions and talking very quickly.

''After initially being belligerent towards police, the defendant began to cry and refused to answer any questions directed at him by the informant,'' the document states.

This time the defendant returned a reading of .109, more than twice the legal limit.

McTernan pleaded guilty to two drink-driving charges, and the prosecution asked for the second charge to be amended so the defendant was a considered a repeat offender.

Under the territory's road laws repeat offenders are specifically charged as such and are liable for tougher penalties.

His lawyer opposed the change, initially saying amending the charge after a plea of guilty was entered would be unfair.

The argument was dropped in written submissions, but the defence maintained McTernan only became a repeat offender once he was convicted or found guilty of the earlier offence, rather than when he pleaded guilty.

McTernan is due to be sentenced at a later date.