MP faces local court

o Remorseful: MP Adam Marshall faces media after being handed a nine-month driving disqualification and $2000 fine.
o Remorseful: MP Adam Marshall faces media after being handed a nine-month driving disqualification and $2000 fine.

State MP Adam Marshall said he is determined that the electorate will not suffer as a result of his actions after he had his licence disqualified for nine months and was fined $2000 in Glen Innes local court on Tuesday.

Magistrate Karen Stafford handed down the penalty after Mr Marshall was stopped by police for the purposes of a random breath test at approximately 11pm on Thursday, June 27, where he returned a mid-range prescribed concentration of alcohol reading of 0.112.

Mr Marshall’s solicitor Rod Watt said the MP was “sipping” drinks while out with local friends on the night of his arrest and was stopped by police in the 2km distance between the local public house and his motel. 

Mr Watt also noted that, at the time, Mr Marshall was suffering from a head cold that may have affected his ability to judge how inebriated he was, but agreed nonetheless that he had too much to drink. Mr Watt said the MP had not attempted to downplay the illegality of his actions and had pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity. 

Magistrate Stafford said she was aware Mr Marshall’s actions have been publically chastised through recent media coverage and that, as part of his public standing, the offence had caused him to surrender two of his ministerial roles as temporary speaker of the Legislative Council and deputy chair of the State and Regional Development Committee.

The court heard Mr Marshall’s drink driving offence follows 17 counts of speeding, which he said contributed to a driving record he was not proud of.

Magistrate Stafford dubbed drink driving a socially-irresponsible act due to the significant risk and potential consequences it places on other motorists.

Following court, Mr Marshall said he has a speaking engagement with senior students at Armidale High School in coming weeks and said he intends to make open comment on his offences and urge his electorate to not follow his actions.

“I made the mistake and I copped the punishment,” he said.

“I am determined not to have the electorate punished because of something I did.”

Magistrate Stafford noted, however, that the court must see that Mr Marshall was adequately punished and that the penalty serves as a deterrent for other drivers committing the same offence. She said the offence was not impulsive in nature and noted that Mr Marshall had been aware that he was at risk of at least returning a positive reading for alcohol concentration at the time.

The court head from Magistrate Stafford that Mr Marshall had knowingly chosen personal convenience over public safety and that, like many offenders, had miscalculated the effect alcohol had and what the reading would be.

Leaving court, Mr Marshall said he was relieved the matter has been settled and hoped that he served as an example to all motorists in his electorate that if they drink and drive they will be court.

“I hope that other people see that no matter who you are or what you do, if you do the wrong thing, if you drink and drive, you will be caught and you will suffer the consequences.”