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Judge misses drink-driving

court date to go on vacation

Paul Bibby

June 22, 2011 – 12:32PM

A senior NSW judge has pleaded guilty after recording a blood alcohol reading of 0.168 after a serious accident in which he collided with two cars and a truck.

Acting Appeal Court judge, Justice Roderick Howie, was planning to drive to the central coast at 9:30am on May 19 when he failed to give way to a B-Double truck, according to a police statement of facts tendered in Ryde Local Court this morning.

Police say the 61-year-old, who has presided over many significant cases, including that of Dianne Brimble, hit the truck’s rear trailer as he pulled onto Beecroft Road in Sydney’s northwest, just minutes from his home.

They say he then mounted the footpath before crossing onto the other side of the road into oncoming traffic, colliding head on with a car coming the other way and sending it into a third car travelling in the same direction.

The driver of the car that Justice Howie hit head on was taken to hospital with neck pain but did not suffer serious injury.

Officers who attended the accident say the judge was “unsteady on his feet, his face was flushed and his eyes watery”.

Having initially recording a blood alcohol reading of 0.168, a breath analysis at Eastwood police station later that morning produced a reading of 0.121, just inside the medium level drink-driving category.

Justice Howie was charged with driving under the influence and had his licence immediately suspended.

Justice Howie reportedly told police that he had consumed a bottle of red wine between 7pm and 11pm the night before the accident.

He did not attend Ryde Local Court this morning, with his lawyer telling the local magistrate his client had gone to Japan for a holiday.

Justice Howie’s lawyer pleaded guilty on his client’s behalf.

The local magistrate appeared less than impressed saying that “the facts show a serious accident has occurred, whoever the accused might be I would expect the accused to be before the court”.


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