Thursday, April 21, 2011

Police officer Martin Baxter fights drink-driving charge

Do we really want this thug on the road?

A POLICE officer accused of aggressive drink-driving while off-duty will not have his breath test admitted to court.

Senior Constable Martin Joseph Baxter, 48, of Kedron, cut off another car, gestured rudely at the driver, followed him home and confronted him while smelling of alcohol, Brisbane Magistrates Court was told yesterday.

Sen-Constable Baxter has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence on Webster Rd at Stafford, on Brisbane's northside, on January 16 this year.

The court yesterday heard evidence from the officer's then-girlfriend, who said he took a six-pack of alcoholic cans from her fridge on the day of the alleged offence, and from a staffer of the Edinburgh Castle Hotel, who said she served him that day.

But under cross-examination by Sen-Constable Baxter's defence lawyer Ruth O'Gorman, the staffer agreed she did not know whether he drove to the hotel.

Motorist Jonathan Faliguerho told the court he had been driving along Webster Rd when Sen-Constable Baxter cut him off and flipped him "the bird".

"I actually had to brake quite severely and the seatbelts locked up," he said. Mr Faliguerho said his girlfriend commented that the vehicle's driver "must be drunk".

The couple then drove back to their home at the Grange and Sen-Constable Baxter followed, the court heard. "He told me he was an off-duty police officer and showed me his hat," Mr Faliguerho said.

He said Sen-Constable Baxter had "glazy" eyes and he could smell alcohol, before he asked the officer whether he had been drinking. "He answered with a smirk and he said 'no'," Mr Faliguerho said.

After Sen-Constable Baxter left, Mr Faliguerho phoned the police with the officer's registration to ask whether he really was a police officer. "I didn't want him on the road if he was drunk," he said.

Police called Mr Faliguerho back after looking up the registration number, confirmed the man was a police officer and said they would find him.

Mr Faliguerho's girlfriend, Claudia Bonny, said she told her partner to keep his distance when they first encountered Sen-Constable Baxter on the road because she thought he might be under the influence.

Later Ms O'Gorman successfully challenged the admitting into evidence of Sen-Constable Baxter's breath test taken at the Stafford police station. She argued police had not provided the proper material to show the officer who administered the test had been properly delegated to do so.


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Helen said...
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