THE teenage son of Bundaberg Mayor and former police minister Jack Dempsey has been caught in charge of a vessel while over the alcohol limit.
Appearing in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday, 17-year-old Lachlan Dempsey pleaded guilty to the single charge after Hervey Bay Water Police breath-tested the teenager on January 5 this year.
Dempsey had been enjoying a day on the Burnett River - fishing and having a few beers with his brother - when they pulled into the ramp at Rubyanna just after 6pm.
The court heard Dempsey and his older brother both held a marine licence and when his brother got out of the tinnie to go and collect the car and boat trailer, it left Dempsey in charge of the vessel.
Dempsey had just paddled down the river a short distance while waiting for his brother to return when police intercepted him and he returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.054%.
The court heard Dempsey was a talented AFL player who had been involved in charity work and was about to start an apprenticeship after finishing school last year.
Magistrate Belinda Merrin said Dempsey was a "young man really just involved in a poor decision".
"It wasn't the intent you'd be in control for an extended period," she said.
"You're 17 and shouldn't have been in a boat drinking in any event."
Dempsey was placed on a $400 good behaviour bond for six months.
As a 17-year-old, come February 1, Dempsey's matter would have been heard in a closed court and dealt with under the Youth Justice Act 1992, rather than by the adult criminal justice system.
The new legislation and will bring Queensland into line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the law in all other Australian jurisdictions.
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