A man who was seen towing a boat in a mobility scooter along a major highway in New South Wales has avoided jail time and instead handed a fine and license disqualification.
Appearing in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday, Shane Swancott received a $1,100 fine along with a six-month license disqualification for transporting the 17-foot boat, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Last October the 36-year-old was captured on video travelling along the road in Belmont, about 20 kilometres south of Newcastle, attempting to make a right-hand turn. The video, shared on social media, quickly went viral with people across the world dumbfounded by the incident.
A man who towed his boat with a mobility scooter along a Belmont road has faced court in Sydney. Shane Swancott pleaded guilty to several offences including driving while disqualified. The 36-year-old had his licence suspended for another 6 months. He was also fined $750. #7News pic.twitter.com/clivcEgjYG
— 7NEWS Sydney (@7NewsSydney) February 27, 2019
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, court documents revealed police spotted Swancott when patrolling the area and quickly made a U-turn and returned to the intersection.
They then witnessed Swancott attempting to reverse the boat into his driveway before the towing attachment jack-knifed. The man then proceeded to push the boat into his yard by hand, halting two lanes of traffic and causing a “high” level of danger to others on the road.
According to the publication, Swancott’s lawyer Osman Samin claimed in court the man had done “research on numerous websites” beforehand on the legalities around driving a mobility scooter and believed it was “a great idea”.
Magistrate Garry Still did not accept the reasoning, claiming the decision was “simply daft”. 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 also fined $500 for driving unlicensed, given a six-month disqualification and a $200 fine for the other charges.
Speaking to 7 News after the sentencing was handed down, Samin claimed they were “very pleased” with the outcome, describing it as “suitable” and “appropriate”.
“He has certainly learnt his lesson and we are very hopeful he won’t be back before the courts again,” he told reporters.
“He was just trying to get it (the boat) home, that’s really it. Despite the fact most people want to believe he wanted to go for an afternoon fish or something like that, that’s certainly not the case. He was just trying to get the boat home.”
The recent case follows a report last year by Monash University that revealed the alarming number of deaths caused by scooter accidents.
According to the data published exclusively in the Herald Sun at the time, as many as three senior Victorians are hospitalised each week due to either crashing or being hit by a mobility scooter. More than 1,000 over-50s in the state have been rushed to the emergency department for their scooter-related injuries over the past 10 years. In more than 50 per cent of cases, the injuries sustained were so severe that patients required further hospital stays or additional treatment.
Worryingly, there have been 129 mobility scooter deaths in Australia since the year 2000 and three deaths caused by pedestrians.