Visa refusal sends man on drunken binge

HAVING his visa application refused sent Sri Lankan national Kanesamoorthy Thiyagaraja on a drinking binge which led to his arrest, time in the watch house and a sentence hearing before Toowoomba Magistrates Court.

The normally sober 40-year-old was found by police lying face down on an O'Quinn St footpath smoking a cigarette about 2.30pm, March 4, the court heard.

Police noticed two empty bottles of wine nearby which Thiyagaraja said he had drunk, police prosecutor Senior Constable Des Neijens told the court.

Unsteady on his feet, police asked him if they could take him to a safe place but Thiyagaraja refused to go with police, telling them he'd ride his bicycle.

Told he couldn't ride his bike in that state, he became agitated and argued with police before shaping up to the officers with his fists raised, Snr Const. Neijens said.

Thiyagaraja struggled with police before he was handcuffed and taken to the watch house.

Through a Tamil interpreter, he pleaded guilty to a charge of "obstructing police in a public place while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance" and apologised to the court.

His solicitor Phil Stainton told the court his client had been in Australia about three years and for 18 months was a meat worker.

However, he was now doing volunteer work for Toowoomba Hospital.

His client had no criminal history at all and didn't normally drink, but he had become upset when his visa application was refused the day before the incident, Mr Stainton submitted.

Acting Magistrate Roger Stark said that under the legislation, any penalty for that charge had to include a community service component.

However, Mr Stark said he would impose the minimum amount of 40 hours community service and order that conviction not be recorded.


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