LOOSE MOOSE: Drink driver shows remorse after crash
What started as a standard night out celebrating a friend's birthday led to a series of bad decisions for a remorseful defendant.
Appearing in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court this week, Joshua Tuisavalalo Nio pleaded guilty to driving while over the general alcohol limit and unlawful possession of a weapon - category M.
It was 2.25am on December 17 when Nio decided to call it a night after partying with his friends on the Gold Coast's Broadbeach.
Initially planning to have an early night the defendant decided to drive and parked his car at the nearby surf club.
Despite consuming two beers and vodka shots at The Loose Moose Tap and Grill House, the defendant felt he was fine and got into his car with plans to drive back to his home in Coomera - about 30 minutes away.
But his car would never make it home with the defendant crashing it just moments later.
Police were conducting patrols in the area when they arrived at the single-vehicle crash site and saw Nio's black Holden sedan which had crashed into the intersection of Rio Vista Boulevard.
Two sets of broken traffic lights and vehicle debris was also observed on the side of the road and police found a baton in the defendant's possession.
Returning a positive roadside breath test the certificate issued later showed he blew a reading of 0.08%.
Born and raised in Bundaberg, Nio's solicitor Lavonda Maloy said her 23-year-old client reached year 12 and worked at various local businesses throughout high school before relocating to the Gold Coast in 2017 to commence his apprenticeship.
After completing his apprenticeship the court heard Nio has gone on to gain employment in his field and now volunteers for a charity that assists the homeless or those who are disadvantaged.
Ms Maloy said her client was a talented rugby player who once represented the state and had aspirations to play professionally but was unable to after sustaining a serious leg injury during a game.
The defendant now has titanium plates in his hip and will require a hip replacement as a result of this incident.
"He wasn't a man that sat idly by feeling sorry for himself your honour - he dusted himself off and has pursued another particular interest of his," Ms Maloy said.
"The accident only just occurred prior to police arriving - he's a very remorseful man your honour (and) he fully co-operated with authorities.
"He's a man that has contributed to the community as attested by the evidence and he's a man that wishes to continue on that path that he is travelling."
In relation to the weapon, Ms Maloy said her client found the baton in the car park when he was walking back to his vehicle and foolishly picked it up off the ground and put it into his pants.
The defendant's mother appeared in court to support her son and his father was unable to attend due to work commitments.
Positive references from his employer, former high school principal and family friend were handed to the Magistrate to demonstrate the defendant's usual good character.
The court heard Nio had no similar offences on his criminal history.
Magistrate Anthony Maloney said while it was 2.30am the intersection where the crash occurred was still very busy, Coomera was a long drive from Broadbeach and the defendant was very lucky that no one had been hurt during the incident.
Nio was fined $250 for the weapons charge and the item was forfeited for destruction.
He was also fined $500 and disqualified from holding or obtaining a drivers licence for the duration of four months in relation to the drink driving charge.