A Ballarat man who crashed into a Wendouree swimming school in the middle of the night in October last year broke down during his appearance in Ballarat Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Scott Jose, 50, appeared in court charged with five charges, relating to an incident on October 19, 2017 when the vehicle he was driving crashed into the Swim and Survival Academy on Dowling Street.
The court was told the vehicle Mr Jose was driving was seen driving erratically in Dowling and Grevillea Streets around midnight on 19 October 2017.
The car collided with a small tree, narrowly missed a man who was opening a gate to a nearby property and then crashed into the swim school, “coming to rest in the foyer”.
The witness said the driver then got out of the car and left the scene.
The court heard that Jose walked to his home nearby and handed himself into police at 11.27am the next day.
He was arrested and charged with five offences, including driving in a manner dangerous, property damage and failing to report to police following an accident.
Three charges were later withdrawn.
Mr Jose admitted to having had six stubbies of Crown lager the previous afternoon but said “I have no reason” for the accident.
The court heard he had left the house angry after an argument with his son.
Mr Jose’s defence lawyer said the defendant fully realised his driving “could have had catastrophic consequences” but that in terms of risk, “it was near midnight and was a roundabout in an industrial area”.
“The person opening the gate won’t forget this in a hurry,” Magistrate Alsop said.
In an appeal for leniency, the defence said Mr Jose had four children and was the “breadwinner” and it would put a huge burden on his wife to do all the driving.
Magistrate Alsop imposed a $1000 fine and a six-month driving suspension.