Australia: Former Motor Accident Commission chief Benjamin Tuffnell pleads guilty to drink-driving - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Former Motor Accident Commission chief Benjamin Tuffnell pleads guilty to drink-driving

09:27  14 november  2019
09:27  14 november  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Video provided by AAP

A former high-profile South Australian public servant has escaped conviction for resisting police during an arrest after a Tourism SA corporate function.

But the former manager at the SA Motor Accident Commission was convicted for drink-driving.

Benjamin John Tuffnell was working as the corporate affairs director at Tourism SA when he committed the offences.

The 46-year-old pleaded guilty to three charges, including drink-driving and resisting police.

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a man smiling for the camera: Former Motor Accident Commission boss Ben Tuffnell was also accused of assaulting police. (Supplied: SA Tourism Commission) © Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Former Motor Accident Commission boss Ben Tuffnell was also accused of assaulting police. (Supplied: SA Tourism Commission) Two counts of assault were dropped.

He was convicted for drink-driving but escaped conviction for the two other offences.

Tuffnell was placed on a good behaviour bond for 12 months and fined $900.

Chief Magistrate Judge Mary-Louise Hribal described his behaviour towards police as "belligerent and disrespectful".

The court was told Tuffnell returned a blood alcohol concentration of 0.097 per cent — almost two times the legal limit — in July.

It heard the public servant then resisted police both before and during his arrest, which included him being handcuffed on the ground and thrown in a caged police vehicle.

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Tuffnell lost job in public service

Lawyer Ben Sale said his client had consumed three beers and two wines at a Tourism SA function before dropping a friend at her car.

He said Tuffnell started his career in teaching but had risen to "high level positions in the public service".

"At the time of this offence, he was the corporate affairs director for Tourism SA," he said.

Mr Sale said Tuffnell disclosed to Tourism SA the drink-driving charge but not the assault or resist police matter.

"Unfortunately, in light of these charges as well as a suggestion by his employer that he wasn't forthcoming enough, he had his employment terminated," he said.

"For someone who has been a career public servant, who has worked high-level positions, such a termination is not only a loss of a job but, really, a loss of a career."

Mr Sale told the court he now worked as a consultant two days a week.

He also said Tuffnell was "horrified" at his behaviour when he watched the police body-worn camera footage of the arrest.

"He's ashamed of the way he behaved towards the officers," Mr Sale said.

Judge Hribal also disqualified Tuffnell from driving for a further two months after already being banned for the past four months.

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