| 28.02,19. 08:12 AM |
'Simply daft': Man who towed boat down highway with mobility scooter escapes jail time
A man who towed his boat along the Pacific Highway with a mobility scooter has escaped jail time, receiving a $1100 fine and a six-month licence disqualification.
In a video that went viral online, Shane Swancott could be seen attempting to make a right-hand turn on a small red mobility scooter with a boat in tow at Belmont, near Newcastle, on the afternoon of October 19, 2018.
A video of Mr Swancott towing his 17 foot boat on a mobility scooter went viral online.
A video of Mr Swancott towing his 17 foot boat on a mobility scooter went viral online. Credit:Nine
On Wednesday, his lawyer Osman Samin told Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court that his client's licence was disqualified at the time of the incident, and he was therefore unable to transport the 17-foot boat by car.
Mr Samin argued his client had done "research on numerous websites" on the legalities of driving a mobility scooter unlicenced and thought he had found "a great idea". Magistrate Garry Still described the decision as "simply daft".
According to court documents, police were patrolling on the Pacific Highway when officers noticed the boat waiting to turn into Evans Street. Passing through the intersection, police spotted the towing vehicle and performed a U-turn and returned to the intersection.
It was there that police witnessed Mr Swancott attempting to reverse park into his driveway, before the towing attachment jack-knifed.
Mr Swancott then momentarily halted two lanes of traffic as he pushed the boat into his yard by hand. Police facts said the situation caused a "high" level of danger to "other people and vehicle on the road".
When the case was mentioned in court, Magistrate Still asked if it was "the one that's been in the newspapers and on YouTube".
Mr Samin responded, "It's been everywhere; internationally".
Mr Samin said Mr Swancott only drove the vehicle a "very short distance" of 950 metres from his storage unit at Kennards to his house.
He also told the court that his client has regained his licence after the incident but has since been living in his car. Mr Samin said Mr Swancott needed his licence in order to maintain his employment while he saves up for a deposit on a house.
When handing down the sentence, Magistrate Still said he would "not lecture" Mr Swancott on his behaviour, but said he could not simply "dismiss" the case due to his personal circumstances.
Mr Swancott was charged with driving while disqualified, using an unregistered vehicle on the road, using an uninsured vehicle on the road and using an unregistered trailer on the road. He was fined $500 for driving unlicenced, as well as a six-month disqualification and a $200 fine for each charge thereafter.
Outside court, Mr Samin said the result was a "very fair outcome" for his client.
"I was certainly happy with no jail time, I think a small fine was the correct way to deal with it," he said.
"Certainly Mr Swancott has learnt his lesson and hopefully, he won't be appearing before the court towing any boats in the future."