Banned driver caught behind wheel: court

A Warrawong man with an expired licence was allegedly caught behind the wheel of a car yesterday morning - the third time in a little more than a week.

Max George Austin, 25, appeared in Wollongong Local Court yesterday on charges of being an unlicensed driver in an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, using unauthorised number plates and breaching his bail conditions.

The court heard Austin's licence had expired in September last year, however, he had been caught driving the same Subaru station wagon, bearing illegal registration plates, three times in nine days.

Police documents tendered to the court said Austin had only been released on bail for a similar offence on Monday, and had defied the condition of his release ordering him not to occupy the driver's seat of any vehicle when he allegedly got behind the wheel yesterday morning.

Opposing Austin's bid for bail, prosecutor Sergeant Seleena Gillmore said Austin had been told time and time again not to drive yet continued to defy the law.

"Your honour can not be satisfied he [Austin] will refrain from driving that motor vehicle on the road [if he is released on bail]," she said.

She noted Austin had 14 breaches of bail on his record and was currently serving two good behaviour bonds for similar offences.

However, Legal Aid solicitor Sian Aldis said Austin would agree to report to police as often as the court required, could offer a surety and had the support of his family.

"His sister has confiscated the keys to his car so he can't drive again," Ms Aldis said.

She also noted that the offences Austin had been charged with did not carry jail terms, only fines as their maximum penalties.

Magistrate Doug Dick released Austin on strict bail, ordering him to live with his sister at Albion Park Rail, report to police daily, and not occupy the front seat of any vehicle.

"Does that include the passenger seat?" Austin asked Mr Dick at the end of the proceedings.

"Yes. You can sit in the back and be driven around waving like the Queen, but you can't be in the front seat," Mr Dick replied.

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