Traffic, night, road, driving, car, generic
Traffic, night, road, driving, car, generic Brett Wortman

Driver banned until 2054 caught behind wheel again

BANNED from driving until 2054, and on bail with strict conditions to not be behind the wheel, Shane Anthony Connelly again found himself on the wrong side of the law earlier this year when police busted him driving when he suddenly pulled out in front of them on Yamba Rd.

Facing Grafton Local Court on Tuesday, the 48-year-old Townsend man was sentenced on two charges of driving a motor vehicle while disqualified, as well as a charge of possessing a prohibited drug.

According to police facts, Connelly has been declared a habitual offender for continually refusing to comply with court orders to stay off the road, and has been disqualified from driving for the next 35 years.

On July 10 this year, police were on Yamba Rd at 10.55pm when a vehicle pulled out in front of them from Osprey Dr, causing the police vehicle to brake suddenly.

Police caught up to the vehicle and found Connelly in the driver's seat. Checks revealed he was disqualified from driving until September 13, 2054. Connelly was also on bail for similar offences, with a condition of his bail that he not occupy the driver's seat of any motor vehicle.

In Grafton Local Court this week, magistrate Kathy Crittenden noted Connelly's lengthy history with driving offences since 2016 and his repeated failure to comply with court orders to stay off the road.

"Your record for driving matters shows a consistent disregard for court orders, you've been declared a habitual offender and have received a significant disqualification period as a result," Ms Crittenden said.

Despite Connelly having previously served periods of time behind bars for similar offences, Ms Crittenden said they had done little to curb the pattern of offending behaviour.

Referring to a sentencing assessment report that highlighted Connelly's suitability for community service, Ms Crittenden decided a full-time prison sentence was not in the best interest of justice.

"I find the risk of your re-offending is best reduced by serving your punishment in the community," the magistrate said.

Connelly was sentenced to a 12 month intensive corrections order and ordered to complete 120 hours of community service.

He was also disqualified from driving for a further 12 months.