IN COURT: Blackout blamed for dodging cop questions

AN EPILEPTIC fit might have been behind an incident that left a Gladstone man facing charges in Maryborough Magistrates Court.

But the presence of cannabis in his system left him with little legal room to move when it came to contesting the charges.

Benjamin Jon Houston, 40, pleaded guilty to contravening a direction or requirement of police, driving under the influence and obstructing police.

The court heard police were called to Mungar Rd in Mungar by a concerned motorist who had noticed Houston parked off the road at an angle.

When police approached him, he was unsteady and fidgety, the court was told.

When he was asked for his full name, he failed to comply.

He then tried to pull away and resist arrest.

Defence lawyer Travis George said Houston had travelled to Yengarie to be with his mother after her home was broken into.

He had been diagnosed with epilepsy at 18, but was on medication that meant he rarely had seizures.

However, on September 25 last year, he started feeling ill and "got the sweats".

He pulled off the road and had no recollection of his interaction with police, Mr George said.

Mr George said it was possible he had a blackout due to a seizure.

An analysis of Houston's blood found cannabis in his system, along with medications he used to treat his epilepsy.

"It's not quite to the point of a defence, but some explanation," Mr George said.

His mental health and epilepsy had left him reliant on a pension, the court heard.

He was taking the train back to Gladstone to be near his children.

Magistrate Terry Duroux said while Houston did have previous criminal history, it was very dated.

"It seems as though the incident is explained, he was on a rural road, he became unwell and black out because of a seizure," he said.

"There was low level non-compliance with police."

Houston was fined $700 and was disqualified from driving for six months for driving under the influence.

He was fined $300 for the other offences.

Convictions were recorded.



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