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Tony Abbott staffer Peta Credlin escapes drink-driving conviction

Date

Michael Inman

Tony Abbott's chief of staff, Peta Credlin arrives at the ACT Magistrates Court.

Tony Abbott's chief of staff, Peta Credlin arrives at the ACT Magistrates Court. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Prime minister-elect Tony Abbott's chief of staff Peta Credlin has avoided conviction for drink-driving.

Ms Credlin, 42, appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday on a low-level drink-driving charge.

Tony Abbott's chief of staff, Peta Credlin has escaped a conviction for drink driving.

Tony Abbott's chief of staff, Peta Credlin has escaped a conviction for drink driving. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Ms Credlin blew 0.075 when she was tested by police outside her Canberra home after Mr Abbott's budget reply speech about 1.10am on May 17.

She previously indicated she would plead guilty and maintained that position when formally charged on Tuesday.

Defence lawyer Ben Aulich said the low-level reading was a big mistake from an experienced driver.

Mr Aulich tendered a letter from Liberal member George Brandis, QC, which described Ms Credlin as a person of "utmost integrity" who was "universally respected" with a "deep sense of ... public duty".

Mr Aulich said Ms Credlin had already been punished via the enormous amount of media attention the charge created.

Magistrate Maria Doogan dismissed the charges, which means Ms Credlin escaped conviction and suspension, as it was the first time she has been charged with an offence in 21 years of driving.

But Mrs Doogan ordered Ms Credlin pay $69 in court costs.

The matter was originally listed for July but postponed until after the election due to Ms Credlin's busy travel schedule with Mr Abbott.

Speaking outside court, Ms Credlin said she had no excuse for breaking the law.

"I did the wrong thing, I made a mistake and I asked for the matter to be dealt with in the usual way, which has been done today," she said.

"I thank the police for their work, the court for their work and, as you may well know, I've got a job to do myself, so I'm going back to work now."

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