L-plater downed beers before driving: court

A 17-year-old learner driver had downed several beers with his mates when he decided to take his mother's car for a joy-ride, Wollongong Local Court heard yesterday.

The Cordeaux Heights teen, who cannot be named, was nabbed by police late last year as he drove along Cordeaux Road without a supervising driver, his L-plates or his licence.

Sentencing the boy yesterday, Magistrate Susan McGowan said the teen's antics were not a good start to his driving career.

"This [conduct] is irritating in the extreme," she said.

"It's not a good way to start . . . now is the time for you to get a grip and do better."

The teen had been drinking at home on October 24 when his 19-year-old mate decided to go to Western Suburbs Leagues Club.

Solicitor Darren Chennell, acting for the teen, told the court his client had been pressured into letting his friend drive his mother's car to the pub.

When his mate decided to stay, the teen then made the "foolish" decision to drive home as he didn't want to leave the vehicle in the car park, the court heard.

Police pulled the teen over for a random breath test and he blew a 0.015 reading.

He later admitted to drinking three beers, downing his last drink just 45 minutes before he jumped behind the wheel. The teen yesterday pleaded guilty to driving without supervision, not displaying his L-plates and drink-driving.

Mr Chennell said the boy was extremely young and had simply made a stupid decision.

He told the court his client had completed the traffic offenders program, had no record and was remorseful for his actions.

Magistrate McGowan banned the man from driving for three months and fined him $350.

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