IN COURT: Underage teenagers were instructed by their grandpa to drive down the road to collect branches.
IN COURT: Underage teenagers were instructed by their grandpa to drive down the road to collect branches.

Bizarre defence for grandpa who sent teen driving

POLICE have fined the grandpa of two teenage siblings caught driving on the roads around their rural property.

The grandpa, who cannot be named for legal reasons, sent his grandson and granddaughter out to collect branches in a Nissan Patrol.

But police picked up the pair on a road in the Lockyer Valley, and drove them home after discovering the boy driving was only 15 and had never held a licence.

Gatton Magistrates Court heard that, back at home, the grandpa told police he "owned" the road which was named after his family and the regular rules probably didn't apply.

The young man, whose age legally prevents him from being named, told police he was bringing some branches from the family home to a nearby paddock, and had been told to get behind the wheel by his grandfather.

"Police then drove the vehicle, including the occupants, back to the residence and spoken to the defendant, asking if he had told his grandson to drive, and he said he had indeed done so," Police Prosecutor Al Windsor said.

"He also stated he knew his grandson did not hold a licence, he further stated he owned the road, and maintains the road, indeed, it bears his name."

The grandpa's lawyer described the incident as a "time warp" situation, saying it was not uncommon for people on farms or rural properties to teach minors to drive around their yards, even before they're at a road-legal age.

As such, the grandpa had seen no harm in allowing his grandson to drive a short distance on the public road.

It was also stated the grandpa suffered from a "litany of health problems" which impeded his ability to carry out yard work himself, including a recent recovery from an eight-week radiation therapy treatment for cancer issues.

The grandpa and his wife were described as being in a difficult living situation, living on a low income and having to raise their grandchildren.

Magistrate Roger Stark took these circumstances into account when handing down his sentence.

The grandpa was given a $200 fine, which was referred to SPER.

His conviction was not recorded.