An off-duty cop busted drink-driving ‘brought the reputation of the NT police force into disrepute’, a court has heard.
An off-duty cop busted drink-driving ‘brought the reputation of the NT police force into disrepute’, a court has heard.

Drink-driving cop arrested by colleagues

A DECORATED, veteran Territory cop has been convicted of drink-driving after being busted by his colleagues behind the wheel on Christmas Day at more than three times the limit.

Michael Whiting, 41, pleaded guilty in Darwin Local Court last week to high-range drink-driving and driving without due care following the incident last year.

The court heard Whiting was driving on Roystonea Ave in Palmerston in the early hours of Christmas morning when a St John paramedic spotted him on a grass median strip "narrowly missing" a large concrete drain.

The paramedic pulled up next to Whiting and asked if he was OK. Whiting said he was, before driving off towards Callie Ct where he came to a stop.

Police arrived and took Whiting back to the Palmerston police station where he recorded a blood-alcohol reading of 0.187.

In submitting references to the court on Whiting's behalf, his lawyer Ray Murphy said the letters "attest to his bravery, his compassion and his vigilance while serving as an NT Police officer".

"During his policing career he's been awarded various citations including a commissioner's commendation and letter of recognition for his meritorious service," he said.

Mr Murphy said his client had had a difficult year in which his wife was diagnosed with bowel cancer and his father passed away and "simply let things get the better of him".

Mr Murphy said Whiting had been suspended from duty following the charges and faced potential dismissal as a result, despite not being on duty at the time, along with other "far-reaching consequences".

"Firstly and most importantly, my client - as someone who's personally attended many fatal motor vehicle accidents throughout his policing career, has cut bodies out of cars, delivered death messages to next of kin - is all too aware of the risks involved in drink-driving," he said.

"Secondly he's suffered the great shame and embarrassment of not just being arrested by his colleagues but having placed his colleagues in that position in the first place.

"Thirdly the shame of having brought the reputation of the NT police force into disrepute and the disciplinary proceeding that he is now subject to for having done so."

In fining Whiting $750 and disqualifying him from driving for 12 months, judge Greg Cavanagh said the matter would be "dealt with in the normal way as a first offender".

Acting professional standards commander Virginia Read confirmed internal investigations were being undertaken but would not release any other information, including Whiting's rank.

"Internal investigations pertaining to alleged breaches of discipline are being undertaken by professional standards command," she said.

"No further information will be provided while this process is being completed."