Musician Daniel Johns has not been jailed after breaking the legal limit three times when he crashed his car on the wrong side of the road.
The former Silverchair frontman faced trial at Raymond Terrace on Wednesday after pleading guilty to drink-driving in the NSW Hunter region around 10:30 p.m. on March 23.
Attorney Bryan Wrench said his client struggled to show the court how seriously he had taken the charges since he entered rehab and his discharge in June, abstaining from alcohol.
Leading up to the incident, Johns would soon be releasing his new album FutureNever, sparking the mental health issues he’s faced since his meteoric rise as a teenager, the court was told. He also promoted a new podcast, Who Is Daniel Johns; a deep dive into his career.
Wrench said Johns was a very withdrawn person and had been vilified by the media before being charged with drink-driving.
His struggle with anorexia in his early 20s led to reactive arthritis that flared up under stress, and he self-medicated with alcohol.
“During his rehab, his album reached No. 1, but what it takes to hit No. 1 is his mental health,” Wrench said.
After his partner took him to a vacation rental to “escape the stressors”, Johns “just got in the car and just drove to get away”.
Johns had pulled his gray SUV out of a gas station on the Pacific Highway near North Arm Cove and headed north before crashing into a van. Both vehicles ended up in a nature strip.
Johns was breathed in and returned a blood alcohol level of 0.157.
The van’s driver, 51, and its female passenger, 55, were treated at the scene and the woman was taken to hospital.
Magistrate Ian Cheetham said the charges were serious, but Johns’ background and circumstances were exceptional; he handed the musician a 10-month intensive correction order.
He was ordered to continue his medical treatment and was given a seven-month driving ban.