Dad gives son, 12, beer, crashes car

A FATHER bought his 12-year-old son schooners of beer at a Newcastle pub before crashing a car with his two boys  on board and registering a blood alcohol reading more than six times the legal limit, a Newcastle court heard on Tuesday.

Security camera footage from the Hotel Jesmond beer garden showed the father, who cannot be identified, drinking schooners and pushing glasses of beer towards his son, who was seen drinking about half the contents of two glasses on the afternoon of January 27, a statement of facts said.

A witness alerted bar staff  and the father and his sons, aged 12 and eight, were asked to leave the hotel, the statement tendered to Newcastle Local Court yesterday said.

The father then got behind the wheel of his four-wheel-drive with his sons  as passengers and reversed into a concrete barrier  surrounding a garden before the hotel’s licensee raced out and stopped the father from driving away.

The licensee removed the keys from the ignition and called police while the father got out of the car and walked across the road.

He denied that his sons were in the car when he drove, but security camera footage showed the boys entering the vehicle.

The father, who smelt of alcohol and whose speech was slurred, was taken to Waratah police station where he registered a blood-alcohol reading of 0.31.

The hotel’s security camera footage from the beer garden showed the 12-year-old drinking alcohol and ‘‘the [father] pushing the schooner glass of beer towards the child’’, the statement said.

The 12-year-old had a glass in front of him when the staff member investigated the complaint and the boy was seen to push the glass away when he realised he was being watched.

The boys were picked up from the hotel by a family friend while arrangements were made for the father to be driven from the police station to his Newcastle home.

The father pleaded guilty on Tuesday to supplying alcohol to a minor and high-range drink-driving.

Magistrate John Chicken adjourned the case to May so a pre-sentence report could be prepared.

The father was previously caught high-range drink-driving in 1993 and low-range drink-driving in 1997.

His traffic record contains several offences, including speeding and driving while his licence was cancelled.