Drugged driver fined after choosing ‘dope’ over rehab stint

A TOOWOOMBA man who refused to go on probation because he would have to stop smoking marijuana has been slammed with a $2500 fine instead.

Benjamin James Handcock believed he would be setting himself up to fail if he went onto a probation order and was later breached for testing positive to the drug which he continued to smoke, Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard.

He had driven away in a white Ford utility from a Frawley St, Drayton, address about 10.20am July 31 and was followed by a police patrol.

The utility sped off into Brisbane St and drove on at high speed in the 60kmh zone before braking heavily, causing a plume of smoke, police prosecutor Des Neijens told the court.

The utility then slid into the opposite lane into the path of oncoming traffic before spinning the tyres again and speeding into Luck St where the 24-year-old was seen to overtake cars, forcing vehicles to pull to the left.

When police caught up with him soon after, Handcock admitted driving dangerously, telling officers he did not want to be caught with marijuana he had just bought.

Senior Constable Neijens said a search of Handcock's home had found 31g of marijuana in a plastic bag in the roof cavity of the bathroom, a grinder and scissors for chopping up drug leaf and digital scales for weighing it.

He had also been driving with marijuana in his system, Snr Const. Neijens said.

Handcock had tested positive for marijuana again when pulled over driving the utility on Condamine St on August 16, the court heard.

He pleaded guilty to all charges.

His solicitor Phil Stainton told the court the tradesman painter had not worked for 12 months since sustaining a back injury and he had been self-medicating with marijuana for anxiety and to help him sleep.

Telling him the dangerous driving was "most serious", Magistrate Damian Carroll fined Handcock $2500 and disqualified him from driving for six months but ordered the convictions not be recorded.

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