Model and television personality Lara Bingle has avoided a jail sentence for multiple driving offences, accumulated as a result of her “unworldly” approach to licensing and administrative affairs.
“My client is somewhat unworldly when it comes to administrative things because a lot of it has been done for her,” said Bingle’s lawyer Michael Ainsworth on Tuesday.
“Had she knuckled down and looked at it, she would have seen that she wouldn’t have been allowed to drive.”
The 27-year-old had pleaded guilty to two charges of driving on a cancelled licence.
According to Mr Ainsworth, the former reality star was unaware her licence had been cancelled when police pulled her over near her home in Edgecliff in Sydney’s east in September 2012.
She thought her right to drive had only been temporarily suspended as a result of speeding offences, not cancelled.
But the magistrate who handed the model a six-month suspended sentence on Tuesday told the celebrity that no one is above the law.
“These laws apply to everyone in the community in exactly the same way. They are not there to be annoying,” Magistrate Clare Farnan told Bingle, who was also fined $2000 in Waverley Local Court.
In sentencing Bingle, Ms Farnan was critical of the model’s failure to follow the road rules.
“Your driving record is very poor,” she said.
However, she and the prosecution conceded that police and road authorities had not provided adequate information to the model about the restrictions.
Nevertheless, Bingle should have followed up on this before getting behind the wheel.
“You cannot ignore it and continue to drive. You simply have to accept it or make legal representations,” Ms Farnan said.
Bingle, who is currently dating Australian actor Sam Worthington, has been disqualified from driving for two years.
This is not the first time she has faced legal action after failing to obey road rules.
In January this year, she was ordered to undertake a six week traffic offenders course.
In September 2012, she was given an 18-month good behaviour bond and $3500 fine after getting caught driving a vehicle while her licence was suspended.
The model appeared in court on Tuesday alone in her trademark black from head to toe but happily posed for photos and chatted with fans before entering the court room.