A University of Wollongong international student caught driving with a suspended licence twice in five days has been banned from getting behind the wheel of a car for at least three years.
Muhammed Mehmood, a Pakistani national, had his licence suspended for six months on April 4 when he was caught travelling at more than 45 kilometres over the speed limit on Picton Road.
However, three weeks later Mehmood was nabbed behind the wheel when his car was pulled over for a random breath test on Crown Street, Wollongong.
He returned a negative reading for alcohol, but when officers conducted checks on the status of his licence, they found it was already suspended.
Mehmood told officers at the time that he didn't realise he couldn't drive or that his licence was formally suspended.
However, the 20-year-old had few excuses for police when he was caught again only five days later.
This time, Mehmood was pulled over on Picton Road at Wilton, telling officers he was on his way to his job as a service station attendant at Mittagong.
Facing court yesterday on two driving while suspended charges, Mehmood said he was very remorseful for his bad driving behaviour.
His lawyer, Deborah Langton, told the court on the evening her client had been caught speeding he had been racially vilified while working.
She said he believed the car following him while he was travelling home along Picton Road could have contained his abuser, causing him to speed up in an attempt to get away from it.
The car, in fact, was a police vehicle.
Ms Langton yesterday acknowledged her client had made "irresponsible" decisions to drive since that night, however maintained that, at least on the first occasion, he was unaware that he couldn't.
She said on the second occasion, Mehmood had been on his way to collect his final pay, as he had been fired from his job after losing his licence.
Magistrate Michael Stoddart accepted that Mehmood had benefited from the traffic offender's program but said he couldn't ignore the fact that he had put himself and other drivers in danger.
Mehmood was fined $800, placed on a two-year good behaviour bond and ordered to stay off the road for a minimum of three years, with Magistrate Stoddart warning him if he got behind the wheel during that time he faced a jail sentence.