Kevin Locke handed a life-line by courts

AMY MAAS
Last updated 14:16 06/12/2012
Kevin Locke
GRAHAME COX/ Fairfax NZ
SPARED: Warriors fullback Kevin Locke has been spared a driving ban, instead receiving a sentence of community service for driving while disqualified.

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Warriors star Kevin Locke has been thrown a life-line by the courts today which may have saved his playing career.

The 23-year-old fullback was sentenced in the Auckland District Court to 80 hours community work and fined $1400 for driving while disqualified on May 12, but avoided a further driving ban. 

His club also fined him $5000.

The court heard that Locke was caught as a result of "bad luck" when an off-duty police officer - who was a "fan" of the NRL star - saw him driving in and out of a service station and knew of his disqualification.

Judge Anna-Marie Skellern said it was understood Locke was driving to undertake a "contractual obligation for the Warriors".

The judge said Locke's penalty was a "discretionary matter" and substituted a further driving ban with a community-based sentence.

Skellern took into account the likelihood Locke would lose his job and might not be able to provide for his family.

"At the time of offending, you were suffering a difficult depressive episode which impaired your judgement," Judge Skellern said.

In court today, his lawyer Samudu Thode urged Judge Skellern to give Locke a community-based sentence.

She argued that Locke's employment, family and mental health status had been affected by his appearance in court and that a further driving disqualification could jeopardise his contract with the Warriors.

The club submitted a letter which stated that if Locke "was to be suspended for another year or more it is not the responsibility of the club to keep making excuses for him being unable to fulfil contractual obligations".

He would also have to re-sit his restricted drivers licence, which expires in January.

Locke has been suspended for driving twice as a result of demerit points and has been caught speeding on seven occasions. He is under contract with the Warriors until October 2014.

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