Drugged, speeding biker pleads guilty, out on bail

A WENDOUREE man who drove a motorbike at twice the speed limit with drugs in his system received a three-month jail sentence in Ballarat Magistrates Court on Tuesday. 

But hours after magistrate John Hardy delivered the sentence, Gregory Merritt, 47, applied for and was granted appeal bail. 

Merritt pleaded guilty to one count each of driving in a manner dangerous and exceeding the prescribed concentration of a drug. 

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Michelle Kilburn said Merritt was seen driving a Yamaha motorbike in Dowling Street in Wendouree about 4.55pm on June 9 last year. 

Police recorded Merritt travelling at 123km/h in a 60km/h zone and intercepted the vehicle. 

Senior Constable Kilburn said Merritt produced a positive result for a preliminary oral fluid test for a substance in his system.

On June 14 results from the oral fluid test found Merritt to have had methylamphetamine in his system at the time of the incident.

“Inside the testing vehicle the accused said he had consumed cannabis,” Senior Constable Kilburn said. 

Defence lawyer David Tamanika said drug use had been problematic for his client.

Mr Tamanika also said Merritt had managed to build stability in his life after ending a five-year prison sentence in 2005. 

“He has constantly discussed life was very difficult to get back to normal,” he said. 

“He has support from his family and is a contributing member of the community.”

In sentencing Mr Hardy said he should have been aware that drugs were in his system at the time of the offence. 

“It is a huge concern to me that you made admissions to having ice and marijuana in your system,” he said. 

Mr Hardy convicted and sentenced Merritt to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for nine months. 

He also fined Merritt $1200 and disqualified his drivers’ licence for 15 months. 

Hours later Merritt made a bail appeal, which was granted on the condition he resided at a fixed address, not use a drug of dependence and undertake any test authorised under the Road Safety Act at any time.