Former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns could face jail time after pleading guilty to impaired driving, a magistrate has warned.
The 42-year-old is in a rehabilitation center and was absent from a court in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales on Monday when his lawyer argued on his behalf.
Johns wanted the case dealt with immediately because it was causing him anxiety during a three-month rehabilitation program, attorney Bryan Wrench told Raymond Terrace Local Court.
But Magistrate Ian Cheetham rejected the request, saying the offense was too serious and there was a possibility Johns could be jailed.
Cheetham adjourned the case to June 22 for sentencing and ordered Johns to contact NSW Corrections officers within seven days so that a sentencing assessment report could be completed.
Wrench had earlier provided the magistrate with a detailed report compiled by Johns’ defense team, including background information from medical experts and references from his parents and brother, in an effort to avoid Johns being questioned by corrective services agents.
The defense attorney told the court that Johns understood the seriousness of the offense and had suffered from significant mental health issues for much of his life.
Wrench said Johns was a very reclusive person with a complex range of mental health issues and had been vilified by the media before being charged with drunk driving.
“He had to deal with the negative impact of fame which he never wanted. He doesn’t like it. His main focus is on his mental health,” the lawyer told the court.
Johns was prepared to accept an alcohol ban as part of any intensive correctional order imposed on him if it meant avoiding jail time, Wrench said.
Police say Johns was three times over the legal alcohol limit when his car crossed on the wrong side of the road and crashed into a van in the NSW Hunter area around 10.30pm on Wednesday March 23.
He voluntarily admitted himself to a rehabilitation center after the accident.
Johns had driven his gray SUV out of a gas station on the Pacific Highway in North Arm Cove and headed north before crashing into the van. The two vehicles ended up on a strip of nature.
Johns took a breathalyzer test and returned a blood alcohol level of 0.157.
The driver of the van, 51, and his passenger, 55, were treated at the scene and the woman was taken to hospital and released shortly after.
Johns posted on Instagram the next day to over 100,000 followers that he was going to rehab.
“As you know, my mental health is a work in progress. I have good days and bad days, but it’s something I always have to deal with,” Johns said.
“Over the past week I have started having panic attacks. Last night I got lost while driving and had an accident. I’m fine, everyone is fine. I need to take some step back now as i am self admitting to a rehabilitation center and i don’t know how long i will be there Appreciate your love and support as always.
In Australia, the Lifeline crisis helpline is 13 11 14. In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or by email at [email protected] or [email protected] .ie. In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 or by chat for help. You can also text HOME to 741741 to get in touch with a crisis text line counsellor. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org