Smile fades as past catches up

DRESSED in prison issues and with his wrists shackled by a set of police handcuffs, Caine Leslie Beckett wore a broad grin as he was led into the Maryborough Magistrates Court yesterday.

The smile was triggered by the sight of friendly faces – some young, some not so young – sitting in the back row of the upstairs court room.

While he waited for the court session to be resumed and eight charges to be read out against him, Beckett craned his neck from the prisoner holding area and made light-hearted conversation from the dock.

When he was led out of the courtroom some five hours later, the 35-year-old was looking at a prison stretch after his past finally caught up with him.

The smile had faded too.

Beckett pleaded guilty to a series of charges arising out of an incident on the Bunya Highway on the evening of November 1.

He had been driving a Mack truck and a trailer when a police officer observed there were no lights on the trailer.

The police sergeant pursued Beckett who slowed from 100kmh to 85kmh but failed to stop for a further two-and-a-half kilometres.

When he finally stopped and faced the officer Beckett refused to give his name or a breath specimen. His vehicle was not registered and he was driving, it emerged, while disqualified.

The court heard he became agitated and aggressive, grabbed the officer’s shirt and started throwing punches.

Defending solicitor Travis George told the court his client, a removals man, had been making one final run “to keep the wolves from the door”.

Mr George conceded Beckett had “an unenviable traffic history” going back to 1992, prompting Magistrate John Smith to interject with “Five pages. He has shown a real disregard for previous court orders. He doesn’t really care.”

Mr George said Beckett’s criminal history was also “pretty stark”.

Beckett’s continued breaches of court orders finally caught up with the father of one who was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment on the expiry of a current sentence that runs to February 2011.

He was disqualified from driving for five years, fined $500 and given a parole date of August 18, 2011.

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