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Hutchins dodges jail

A SOUTH-WEST magistrate has told a Hamilton man he would have jailed him if the law had allowed this week.

Magistrate, Mark Stratmann told 37-year-old Matthew Hutchins, of Shakespeare Street, he would have sentenced him to a term of imprisonment if he had been allowed.

Hutchins faced the Hamilton Magistrates Court on Wednesday for sentencing after pleading guilty to 11 offences, including five drug-driving charges.

Mr Stratmann said it was an “outrage” that the law did not allow him to jail Hutchins.

“You’re placing every road user at risk … and you’re thumbing your nose at the law,” he said.

“If I had the power to put you in jail, I would … it’s unfortunate that the law doesn’t allow that.

“It’s about time you think about the rest of the community and the people that look up to you as a role model.”

It was the second time a magistrate had made similar comments in the Hamilton Magistrates Court this month, after former deputy chief magistrate, Franz Holzer told a 30-year-old Hamilton woman who pleaded guilty to 12 drug-driving offences that it “doesn’t make any sense” he couldn’t impose imprisonment for repeat offenders.

Under Victorian law, magistrates are able to imprison drug drivers if they have been convicted of driving while impaired by a drug, however because of the limits of the drug testing system, it is more common for drug drivers to be charged with the lesser offence of exceeding the prescribed concentration of drugs.

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