Eleventh drink driving charge for serial offender Paul Anthony Hepworth
One of Western Australia’s “worst drink drivers”‘ has been found guilty of driving while drunk for the 11th time.
Paul Hepworth was found guilty of drink driving for the 11th time
Hepworth’s record was labelled “one of the worst” by previous Magistrate Raelene Johnston
He will be sentenced later this month
Albany man Paul Anthony Hepworth was found guilty of driving with a blood alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit and driving while disqualified during a short hearing at Albany Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
Hepworth has a long record of drink driving offences, the most recent in 2017, his 10th conviction, resulted in a lifetime licence disqualification and an 18-month suspended prison sentence.
At the time Hepworth’s record was labelled “one of the worst” then Magistrate Raelene Johnston had seen, as reported in local media.
Tuesday’s hearing was told police caught him driving near his Mira Mar property with a blood alcohol level of 0.189 on June 3 this year.
Driving on his property claim
While Hepworth accepted the fact he was under the influence and behind the wheel of a vehicle he pleaded not guilty to the charges, claiming he had only driven on his private property, not public roads.
But following witness and police statements to the contrary, Hepworth was found guilty by Magistrate Kevin Tavener with the trial lasting just two hours.
Prosecuting officer Sergeant Alan Dean called on Hepworth’s neighbour and a Sergeant Shannon McGeown as witnesses.
Sergeant McGeown was visiting Hepworth at his property in June to deliver paperwork relating to another matter.
When nobody answered the door, Sergeant McGeown spoke with a next-door neighbour.
Sergeant McGeown asked the neighbour if she knew where Hepworth was and she pointed to a gold Suzuki ute driving on the street past her house and said “that’s him”.
The court heard Sergeant McGeown approached Hepworth and said that he should not be driving, to which Hepworth explained that “he was only going around the corner”.
Two more officers were called to the scene and Hepworth was breath tested, arrested, and charged.
Magistrate dismisses Hepworth’s claims
Hepworth, who represented himself in court, claimed he had driven down from the back of his property, across the front yard and into the driveway without ever driving on the public roads.
He told the court that he had been using the vehicle to transport wood from a tree he had recently felled on his property.
Magistrate Kevin Tavener told the court that given the charges were a breach of a conditional suspended imprisonment order, Hepworth was likely spend time in prison.