15 May 2024

Irish woman caught driving in Griffith while five times legal limit has licence disqualified

| Oliver Jacques
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Griffith Court House.

Sarah Farrell fronted Griffith Court on Wednesday 15 May. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

A 32-year-old Irish national who recorded a blood alcohol reading of 0.274 while driving on Beelbangera Road in Griffith will be prevented from holding a licence for the next two years.

Sarah Farrell was convicted of high range drink driving after pleading guilty to the charge in Griffith Local Court on Wednesday (15 May). She was disqualified from holding a driver’s licence until 15 May 2026 and also handed a $1500 fine.

Ms Farrell was seen driving a silver Volkswagen station wagon along Beelbangera Road towards Yenda at 10 am on Good Friday, 29 March. Police were flagged down by several members of the public due to her manner of driving.

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Police stopped her and she produced a P1 [Provisional] NSW driver’s licence before submitting to a breath test, which returned a reading of 0.274.

This reading is more than five times the legal limit for a fully licensed driver (0.05). As a P-plate driver, Ms Farrell was not permitted to have any alcohol in her system when driving.

“If you had had an accident, you would have gone to jail,” Magistrate Trevor Khan warned her.

The court heard she had been driving a rental car the morning after a night out drinking.

“You’d be in more strife if you’d been in a pub [at night and driven from there],” Magistrate Khan said.

“[But] if you’ve had a big night and you still feel crook in the morning, you are probably over [the limit].”

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The defendant said she didn’t own a car, had no intention of driving and was happy to walk around Griffith.

Ms Farrell said the visa which allowed her to stay in Australia expired in September, at which time she might have to return to Ireland.

Magistrate Khan asked if she intended to drive in her home country.

“No,” she said. “We don’t tend to drive in Ireland; we have buses and trains.”

Magistrate Khan said he took into account the fact she had no prior record in making his judgement.

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