A prolific Illawarra traffic offender could be on the road again in a matter of weeks after a magistrate agreed to wipe five decades worth of disqualifications from his record.
Georgious Aroutsidis was first banned from driving in 1992 after his licence was suspended for traffic infringements.
However, that didn't stop him from repeatedly getting behind the wheel in violation of court orders, committing so many offences he racked up a dozen "habitual offender declarations", beginning in 2000. Each declaration added a further five-year ban to the disqualification period Aroutsidis received for the individual offences.
By the start of 2019, the 54-year-old was banned from applying for a licence until 2068 - or until he was 103 years old.
Aroutsidis applied to Wollongong Local Court on Thursday to have the 12 declarations expunged (in line with recent changes to that area of law) so he could reapply for a licence.
He told the court his wife had been killed in a car accident in 1988 and he'd struggled for years with psychological issues including untreated depression.
He said he spent time in jail for driving without a licence but had turned his life around about five years ago after beginning a new regime of treatment and medication.
"I have complete stability - I feel so much better now," Aroutsidis said, adding he was working full time at a car dealership in Moss Vale, where he lived during the week and spent the weekend with his parents in the Illawarra. He said a work colleague drove him between both locations.
"The only way I want to drive now is with a driver's licence."
Magistrate Mark Douglass said he was satisfied Aroutsidis was a different person now to who he'd been in his younger years when the majority of the offences were committed.
He also noted Aroutsidis had not come to police attention for dangerous driving offences including drink driving or engaging in police pursuits.
"There's been a considerable change in him and he needs his licence for family, medical and employment reasons."
Magistrate Douglass quashed all 12 habitual offender declarations, meaning Aroutsidis is now eligible to reapply for his licence, subject to him successfully passing a medical fitness test.