Case Note – An application to remove an absolute license disqualification.

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Case Note QLD – Murray v Commissioner of Police [2021] QDC 48


Seeking the removal of an absolute driver's license disqualification.

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On Christmas Day the applicant with a blood alcohol reading of .167 drove after being warned by friends not to. He lost control of the vehicle, mounted the footpath, and struck a child who died as a result.

The applicant was charged with dangerous operation causing death while affected by alcohol. A sentence of 7 years with parole eligibility after 2 was imposed. After serving 2 years and 2 months the applicant was released on parole, after a year of being on parole, he made an application for the absolute disqualification to be removed.

At the time of the initial sentence, he had strong employment as a carpenter, while on parole he secured employment as a car detailer. His partner and employer had been assisting with him attending employment, however, it was causing a strain on the relationships. Affidavit materials were supplied attesting to the character of the applicant. The applicant had undertaken various courses, and the hardships suffered by the applicant not being able to hold a licence had been addressed in the materials seeking the removal of the disqualification.

After 2 years, an applicant can seek a longer or absolute license disqualification be removed s 131(10) Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (“TORUM”)

The deciding judge quoted Honour Judge Farr SC in Slivo v Commissioner of Police [2016] QDC 46 “a driver licence disqualification can hardly be considered a punishment for a prisoner during the period of incarceration.” Other case law about the balancing of the community expectations and the limiting nature of long and absolute disqualifications were also reviewed.

Finding: Ultimately the Court found there had not been a sufficient loss of license to weigh in the favour of the court granting the application.

Notes for practice:

  • Case law about balancing of factors for and against the removal of a disqualification.
  • The loss of a license while in custody may have limited weight.

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