Farmhand Mark Leslie Payne was late getting to court yesterday to defend charges of driving while disqualified. He had an excuse . . . sort of.
Several witnesses were waiting in the New Plymouth District Court yesterday to give evidence against him when prosecuting Sergeant Craig Jones informed visiting Judge Barry Morris there would be a delay.
It turned out Payne (20) had been pulled over by a patrol car as he hurriedly made his way from Pungarehu. According to Mr Jones, by the time the officer made it to the driver's door, Payne was sitting in the passenger seat maintaining he was not the driver.
There was, however, no one else in sight.
After being arrested and having a brief meeting with defence lawyer Barry Henderson, Payne decided to cop to the charges. He pleaded guilty to driving while suspended, driving yesterday while disqualified, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and breaching his community work.
Mr Henderson managed to get a charge of possessing drug utensils dropped after telling the judge Payne had just been accepted into the army.
Payne will learn if he gets to go straight to boot camp when he is sentenced on March 19.