THERE was no time for cheap wine and a three-day growth when it came to a police escort getting Cold Chisel to a Margaret River concert on time.
Senior Constable Shane Clarke, a traffic officer for 22 years, was yesterday fined $1250 and had his licence suspended for six months in Bunbury Magistrates Court after he was found guilty of reckless driving while escorting the legendary Aussie band to a concert at Sandalford winery last November.
Senior Constable Clarke was clocked at 48kmh over the speed limit on Bussell Highway near Vasse on his police motorcycle has he escorted a police car carrying band members about 4pm on November 26.
He was one of three police officers caught speeding while providing the Cold Chisel escort between Busselton airport and the concert venue.
Senior Constable Clarke told Magistrate Paul Heaney police feared there would be “civil disorder" if Barnesy and the rest of Cold Chisel arrived late. He pleaded not guilty.
Sergeant Craig Anderson, who headed the police escort and gave evidence for Senior Constable Clarke, said: “There were concerns if Barnes was late, there could be problems with the crowd, because of liquor consumption”.
He said the police district office had approved the escort but there was confusion as to whether officers were authorised to drive “with speed”, and he had allowed two officers – Senior Constable Clarke was one – to drive 20kmh over the 100kmh speed limit.
However, Prosecutor David Leigh said the situation did not constitute a genuine emergency, and therefore police officers were not exempt from the Traffic Act.
He said the Cold Chisel concert, which attracted 12,000 people, coincided with the Margaret River bushfires and 7000 schoolies arriving in Dunsborough.
Magistrate Heaney said he regretted having to find the veteran policeman guilty.
A police spokesman has said Senior Constable Clarke will be on non-operational duties while his licence is suspended.