In episode two of the fly-on-the-wall documentary series of what goes on in Australia’s busiest courthouse, cameras followed three cases involving alcohol that came before the Downing Centre Local Court.
Alcohol is a factor in 40% of all crimes. It costs the Australian economy around $15 billion each year through loss of life ($4.135 billion), workforce reduction and absenteeism ($3.579 billion) and road accidents ($2.202 billion).
Daniel: Smashed a poker machine and urinated on it.
The first case is that of Daniel, who had been drinking heavily at the races all day.
In the late afternoon, Daniel smashed a poker machine and then urinated on it. He has no recollection of the events, but with a previous record including a conviction for affray, Daniel was apprehensive about his fate.
In the result, the magistrate opted for a 12-month good behaviour bond in lieu of prison time, fined him $1,200 and ordered him to pay damages of $1,825.
For Daniel, this is the equivalent of one month’s wages.
Two young men from the UK beat up a café owner
In the second case, two young holiday makers from the UK beat up café staff after a night of drinking, because one of them didn’t like the meal he’d ordered, saying it was ‘too spicy’.
After being refused a refund for the chicken sandwich, the young men, both in Australia on holiday visas, faced the prospect of being kicked out of the country for their alcohol-fuelled attack.
They both faced charges of assault and property damage and their lawyer asked for the Judge to consider a good behavior bond.
Magistrate Milledge refused that request, saying the victim deserved better justice given that he suffered facial injuries and damage to one shoulder and his ribs.
“The community is sick to death of young yahoos flexing their muscle when something doesn’t please them”, Her Honour remarked.
The two young men were ordered to participate in forum sentencing – where they will have to face their victim, apologise and agree on a punishment.
The men were also each ordered to pay a $700 fine.
Rasha: Low range drink driving
In the third case, Rasha, a loan manager who needs her car for work, pleaded guilty to low-range drink driving after being pulled over by police and registering blood alcohol concentration of 0.06.
One in four deaths on Australia’s roads involve drink driving, and alcohol is a factor in more than 2,000 car accidents every year.
Unfortunately for Rasha, she has twice been convicted of drink driving, and the magistrate showed no leniency the third time. She disqualified Rasha from driving and fined her $660.
As a result of having no driver’s licence, Rasha also lost her job.