New Zealand man’s long explanation for fuel drive off

A New Zealand man who carried out a fuel drive off in Queensland gave a War and Peace explanation for his offending.

Damien Lee Wilson pleaded guilty on April 13 in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to one count of stealing fuel from Caltex in Glass House Mountains.

Wilson, who represented himself, told the court he was a self-employed New Zealand man who ran a business which specialised in steel houses and custom cars, and had looked after his grandmother for five years.

He said he was taking a break from caring for his grandmother, driving around Australia when he was pulled over by police in Newcastle and they confiscated $39,000 cash he had on him, along with jewellery, a passport, birth certificate and other items.

Wilson said he drove on to Brisbane without any money, where he was aware he had unpaid toll fees, and was waiting for money to be transferred from New Zealand from a house sale.

He said he intended on paying the petrol station back the $73.63 worth of diesel fuel once the money came through from New Zealand, but he was still waiting for that the day he pleaded guilty in court.

Wilson said that after driving through Brisbane, he drove to The Caves and through a puddle which caused his car engine to seized.

He said that as a result, he was sleeping in the street with just the clothes on his back, regularly attending Rockhampton Regional Library to continue running his business and check his bank account for money to appear.

“I’m in a very, very difficult situation until the money comes through,” Wilson said.

Magistrate Jason Schubert said Wilson had no dishonesty offences on his criminal record.

He ordered Wilson to pay a $250 fine and $73.63 restitution. A conviction was not recorded.