-NEWS- Joe Ofahengaue charged for alcohol related offence in a vehicle

Thelmus

NRL Player
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We always have the discretion to prosecute. We have to make a decision whether there is sufficient evidence that ‘could’ convict someone of an offence and secondly, that it is in the ‘public interest’ to do so.

So Offa is in his motor vehicle, he is 0.125% and the keys are in the ignition with the engine running. So there is clearly prima facie evidence of the offence.

Police arriving there have to decide basically whether it is in the public interest to prosecute him. There are competing interests at play. Is it in the public interest to prosecute and thereby deter drink driving? Of course. Few would argue that. What is Offa’s history like? We have heard about a few things publicly, but police will be checking his traffic and criminal history at the point of interception. Perhaps his traffic history isn’t exactly stellar or does he have a clean sheet, prior to this incident?

Has the offender made reasonable attempts to avoid committing the offence or has a timely withdrawal from the offence been conducted by the offender? Is the offence of such a minor or technical nature that perhaps an alternative method of dealing with it, such as a caution or warning, is more appropriate?

All of these things are weighed up, every time we type a bench charge sheet or write out a notice to appear, sometimes we do neither and caution someone, or perhaps ‘alcohol divert’ them to a safe place, meaning we consider it more of a health issue than a legal issue and we’re concerned that this person needs help rather than prosecution. It’s something we do all the time, but it rarely makes headlines.

So yes there are other options than necessarily charging a person, every situation is different and ‘quotas’ rarely if ever enter the equation contrary to some opinions. As a rough guide though, the higher the BAC reading and / or the more history a person has, the less likely a person is to be shown discretion in my experience.
Great answer
 

abashii

NRL Player
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Deep Didgeridoo
We always have the discretion to prosecute. We have to make a decision whether there is sufficient evidence that ‘could’ convict someone of an offence and secondly, that it is in the ‘public interest’ to do so.

So Offa is in his motor vehicle, he is 0.125% and the keys are in the ignition with the engine running. So there is clearly prima facie evidence of the offence.

Police arriving there have to decide basically whether it is in the public interest to prosecute him. There are competing interests at play. Is it in the public interest to prosecute and thereby deter drink driving? Of course. Few would argue that. What is Offa’s history like? We have heard about a few things publicly, but police will be checking his traffic and criminal history at the point of interception. Perhaps his traffic history isn’t exactly stellar or does he have a clean sheet, prior to this incident?

Has the offender made reasonable attempts to avoid committing the offence or has a timely withdrawal from the offence been conducted by the offender? Is the offence of such a minor or technical nature that perhaps an alternative method of dealing with it, such as a caution or warning, is more appropriate?

All of these things are weighed up, every time we type a bench charge sheet or write out a notice to appear, sometimes we do neither and caution someone, or perhaps ‘alcohol divert’ them to a safe place, meaning we consider it more of a health issue than a legal issue and we’re concerned that this person needs help rather than prosecution. It’s something we do all the time, but it rarely makes headlines.

So yes there are other options than necessarily charging a person, every situation is different and ‘quotas’ rarely if ever enter the equation contrary to some opinions. As a rough guide though, the higher the BAC reading and / or the more history a person has, the less likely a person is to be shown discretion in my experience.
Cheers mate, that's a really helpful explanation of what's going on behind the scenes.
 

Huge

State of Origin Rep
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Ipswich
Driving tired? What is the offence for yawning?
We always have the discretion to prosecute. We have to make a decision whether there is sufficient evidence that ‘could’ convict someone of an offence and secondly, that it is in the ‘public interest’ to do so.

So Offa is in his motor vehicle, he is 0.125% and the keys are in the ignition with the engine running. So there is clearly prima facie evidence of the offence.

Police arriving there have to decide basically whether it is in the public interest to prosecute him. There are competing interests at play. Is it in the public interest to prosecute and thereby deter drink driving? Of course. Few would argue that. What is Offa’s history like? We have heard about a few things publicly, but police will be checking his traffic and criminal history at the point of interception. Perhaps his traffic history isn’t exactly stellar or does he have a clean sheet, prior to this incident?

Has the offender made reasonable attempts to avoid committing the offence or has a timely withdrawal from the offence been conducted by the offender? Is the offence of such a minor or technical nature that perhaps an alternative method of dealing with it, such as a caution or warning, is more appropriate?

All of these things are weighed up, every time we type a bench charge sheet or write out a notice to appear, sometimes we do neither and caution someone, or perhaps ‘alcohol divert’ them to a safe place, meaning we consider it more of a health issue than a legal issue and we’re concerned that this person needs help rather than prosecution. It’s something we do all the time, but it rarely makes headlines.

So yes there are other options than necessarily charging a person, every situation is different and ‘quotas’ rarely if ever enter the equation contrary to some opinions. As a rough guide though, the higher the BAC reading and / or the more history a person has, the less likely a person is to be shown discretion in my experience.
[/QUOTE]
Not telling you what to do old mate but I'd advise you, were we friends, to not comment. I know you know your stuff but experience has taught me that if there's a fuckwit within your organization and they spot anything, absolutely anything that they can blow up into a serious matter, they surely will! This advice would just be a bloke looking out for an eager and well intentioned bloke.
 
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ivanhungryjak

NRL Captain
4,939
3,177
Suncorp Stadium
We always have the discretion to prosecute. We have to make a decision whether there is sufficient evidence that ‘could’ convict someone of an offence and secondly, that it is in the ‘public interest’ to do so.

So Offa is in his motor vehicle, he is 0.125% and the keys are in the ignition with the engine running. So there is clearly prima facie evidence of the offence.

Police arriving there have to decide basically whether it is in the public interest to prosecute him. There are competing interests at play. Is it in the public interest to prosecute and thereby deter drink driving? Of course. Few would argue that. What is Offa’s history like? We have heard about a few things publicly, but police will be checking his traffic and criminal history at the point of interception. Perhaps his traffic history isn’t exactly stellar or does he have a clean sheet, prior to this incident?

Has the offender made reasonable attempts to avoid committing the offence or has a timely withdrawal from the offence been conducted by the offender? Is the offence of such a minor or technical nature that perhaps an alternative method of dealing with it, such as a caution or warning, is more appropriate?

All of these things are weighed up, every time we type a bench charge sheet or write out a notice to appear, sometimes we do neither and caution someone, or perhaps ‘alcohol divert’ them to a safe place, meaning we consider it more of a health issue than a legal issue and we’re concerned that this person needs help rather than prosecution. It’s something we do all the time, but it rarely makes headlines.

So yes there are other options than necessarily charging a person, every situation is different and ‘quotas’ rarely if ever enter the equation contrary to some opinions. As a rough guide though, the higher the BAC reading and / or the more history a person has, the less likely a person is to be shown discretion in my experience.
I was talking to a mate who is in the RPU about this discretion thing just recently. He was saying that for life threatening offences (?) I think was the term - offences such as speeding, drink driving, running red lights etc - there is little to no discretion. He also said this is especially the case now because they have body cameras which record from the moment they are turned on with buffered video before that. These cameras have to be turned on at all times when speaking to offenders.
So the old days of dropping speeds down or letting people off because they are good blokes are gone. He was saying, people who were only just over at an RBT test would have been waved on years ago but now it’s not worth his job and they all go in.
 
There is no specific offence for yawning, nor for driving a car whilst ‘tired’. There are specific fatigue management related offences for long haul drivers and related logbooks and so forth, but they don’t apply to cars.

It is also not illegal to ‘sleep’ in your car and indeed there are innumerable rest areas where this is actually encouraged as driving tired is rightly recognised as dangerous.

It is illegal under Council and State Forest legislation, to camp in your vehicle in particular places, but pulling over for a snooze isn’t generally, unless it’s a no parking spot or some such.

The stuff people believe never ceases to amaze me...
The point I was making is QLD has fast turned into a nanny state. According to several websites, just google it, Sleeping in your car is illegal In Brisbane council areas. Maybe it's not generally enforced but still can land you a ticket. Driving fatigued you're right doesn't apply to private drivers I thought it did, but to all commercial drivers, bus drivers, driving instructors, taxi, uber etc.. i remember it being drummed into my head several years ago when i became an Uber driver. and yawning was one of the signs that could get you pulled over. The point is if a Cop wants to ping you for something these days it's not hard
 

Huge

State of Origin Rep
7,824
4,737
Ipswich
Mate mine are getting longer every year!
I discovered the supreme importance of drinking equal amounts of water with my alcohol. I cannot stress how beneficial it is. No, having a big drink before you go to sleep combined with a couple panadols doesn't even come close to matching the benefits of drinking water at the start and continuing to drink water throughout the session. Try it once and you'll never go back ESPECIALLY you older guys. For young guys it works well too with the big bonus being that when someone is choosing a friend to share breakfast with, the more sober guys usually get the chocolates.
 

Jason Simmons

NRL Player
2,720
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I was talking to a mate who is in the RPU about this discretion thing just recently. He was saying that for life threatening offences (?) I think was the term - offences such as speeding, drink driving, running red lights etc - there is little to no discretion. He also said this is especially the case now because they have body cameras which record from the moment they are turned on with buffered video before that. These cameras have to be turned on at all times when speaking to offenders.
So the old days of dropping speeds down or letting people off because they are good blokes are gone. He was saying, people who were only just over at an RBT test would have been waved on years ago but now it’s not worth his job and they all go in.
Traffic matters policy in the QPS is dictated by the Traffic Manual. That bit of policy lists certain offences and states that those particular traffic offences are known as ‘life endangering offences’ and because of this seriousness, discretion should not be used for those offences.

However that policy only applies with respect to the two tiered test as I mentioned above AFTER, that two tiered test is satisfied, ie: we have to have what we believe is sufficient evidence to prosecute to a successful conclusion in court and that it satisfies the public interest test, which is that of a ‘reasonable person.’ Would a ‘reasonable person’ in that situation believe it necessary to prosecute? If so, then the Traffic Manual policy dictates no discretion for those specific offences and they are basically the ‘big five’ (speeding, drink/drug driving, seat belts, mobile phones and red lights / stop signs).

That two tiered test is imposed upon the QPS (and anyone else who wishes to prosecute someone criminally) in Qld by the Qld DPP, which is the authorised prosecution agency in Qld at law (though it’s powers to do so are delegated in many instances - police prosecutors, RSPCA Inspectors prosecutions and so on.) So while our policy says one thing, we prosecute whether by ticket, notice to appear, charging etc, ultimately only in the manner directed upon us, by the DPP.

Body worn cameras are an issue in many respects and not the panacea their proponents think they are in many instances, and I’ll make but one more observation, heeding @huge’s advice on such things. Many RPU officers are the sort of people who wouldn’t show discretion anyway, even if the policy allowed them too. If I had my way, they wouldn’t even be employed by the QPS, but rather TMR...
 

kooly87

NRL Player
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Body worn cameras are an issue in many respects and not the panacea their proponents think they are in many instances, and I’ll make but one more observation, heeding @huge’s advice on such things. Many RPU officers are the sort of people who wouldn’t show discretion anyway, even if the policy allowed them too. If I had my way, they wouldn’t even be employed by the QPS, but rather TMR...
I think this is a really interesting point and I'm curious as to how a Police Officer might view it.

The people who are charged with making our roads safer are also indirectly funded by revenue from people disobeying the law and committing motor vehicle related offences. I'm sure the majority of Police are genuinely motivated by trying to make our roads safer for all, but it does strike me as kind or paradoxical that if everyone obeyed the driving laws then the Highway Patrol would become significantly reduced and defunded, if not entirely obsolete.

Even if I was to move away from just the Police, the State Governments are almost certainly collecting far more in revenue from traffic offences than they currently expend in policing our roads and cleaning up after people's mistakes, so it does make you wonder if they really do view it as being in their best interests to enact laws and ways to enforce them that are focussed on road safety vs what revenue they might be able to generate.
 

Huge

State of Origin Rep
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Ipswich
Hear hear! Between Newman banning bikie gangs and Howard stealing our guns it's getting too damn hard to make an honest living out of peddling crack these days.
What, can't we get a gun licence in Australia? Can't we own guns in Australia? ****, when did that happen? I thought the Howard government BOUGHT the excess guns. I didn't realise the government stole them, you know like taking them without paying for them.
 

McHunt

NRL Player
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Sunshine Coast
UPDATE: Travis Meyn in the The Courier-Mail just now:

"The Broncos are privately livid with Ofahengaue" for being busted "in charge of a motor vehicle" with a blood-alcohol level of 0.136. He's due in Ipswich Magistrates Court on Feb 12, two days before the Perth Nines training camp.

The alleged offence could be considered minor given he was not driving the car at the time, after falling asleep inside it with the engine turned on.

But the Broncos are "fed up with his behaviour" following multiple police-related issues, such as driving with a suspended licence and a cheating scandal which saw him banned from Treasury Casino for a year, and then returning to the casino while banned.

The Broncos will determine any sanction after the verdict. Possible sanctions include suspending him for game one against the Cowboys.
 
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"The Broncos are privately livid with Ofahengaue" for being busted "in charge of a motor vehicle" with a blood-alcohol level of 0.136.

But the Broncos are "fed up with his behaviour"

Possible sanctions include suspending him for game one against the Cowboys.
Lucky they're not "SUPER ANGRY" or he'd miss two games.

Personally I've got a bit of time for Joe as a player. He showed what he can do in Origin last year before his knee got busted open. He was close to the best forward on the field that night, along with Jai Arrow. I've never been down with the criticism he sometimes gets as a player.

For all we know he could have been at an important gathering with good friends and family. Pre-season appears consistently very difficult, so it's not out of this world to "have a few" on a long weekend. I don't know the ins and outs, but I hope he puts this behind him and learns.

What it appears we might know is that he wasn't driving. Hopefully he wasn't, but I'd err on that side of things for reasons stated earlier. He's still a young fella ,with a lot on his plate, lets not forget that. I'd rather get behind him and trust the club will as well, and see him reach his potential for both himself and his family.

At the same time one week seems the minimum of what should be appropriate. If they're serious they should set an example. He's already signed. The team needs a resolute focus without these silly distractions.
 

Jason Simmons

NRL Player
2,720
2,533
I think this is a really interesting point and I'm curious as to how a Police Officer might view it.

The people who are charged with making our roads safer are also indirectly funded by revenue from people disobeying the law and committing motor vehicle related offences. I'm sure the majority of Police are genuinely motivated by trying to make our roads safer for all, but it does strike me as kind or paradoxical that if everyone obeyed the driving laws then the Highway Patrol would become significantly reduced and defunded, if not entirely obsolete.

Even if I was to move away from just the Police, the State Governments are almost certainly collecting far more in revenue from traffic offences than they currently expend in policing our roads and cleaning up after people's mistakes, so it does make you wonder if they really do view it as being in their best interests to enact laws and ways to enforce them that are focussed on road safety vs what revenue they might be able to generate.
The QPS budget alone is beyond $2b a year. The ‘revenue’ raised is somewhere around $300m a year. Even if we didn’t raise a dollar in a single year for the Government, the ‘blow’ to their budget bottom lines isn’t much in the scheme of things.

The whole ‘filling Government coffers’ thing from police, is massively overblown when you actually look at how much the Government spends every year. We are a veritable drop in the sea of Government money.

My thoughts about the RPU are simply that they more than any other part of the service, interfere with the QPS relationship with the community. Partly because of their job and partly because of the attitudes of many of their members.

The QPS could do an awful lot with the money and resources it puts into road policing, TMR could do the role easily with an increase in staff and a re-jig of their powers and that negative aspect could be fobbed off elsewhere.

The only differences would be that the community would stop hating us for being ‘revenue raisers’ which would improve our relationship, and that a bunch of over-weight dudes would stop stuffing themselves into a QPS uniform that includes jodhpurs...
 
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Allo

NRL Captain
4,275
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The QPS budget alone is beyond $2b a year. The ‘revenue’ raised is somewhere around $300m a year. Even if we didn’t raise a dollar in a single year for the Government, the ‘blow’ to their budget bottom lines isn’t much in the scheme of things.

The whole ‘filling Government coffers’ thing from police, is massively overblown when you actually look at how much the Government spends every year. We are a veritable drop in the sea of Government money.

My thoughts about the RPU are simply that they more than any other part of the service, interfere with the QPS relationship with the community. Partly because of their job and partly because of the attitudes of many of their members.

The QPS could do an awful lot with the money and resources it puts into road policing, TMR could do the role easily with an increase in staff and a re-jig of their powers and that negative aspect could be fobbed off elsewhere.

The only differences would be that the community would stop hating us for being ‘revenue raisers’ which would improve our relationship, and that a bunch of over-weight dudes would stop stuffing themselves into a QPS uniform that includes jodhpurs...
This is too sensible. Like most government entities, the people with the best ideas aren’t in the position to make them
 

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