Linguistics Expert Professes to Driving Offences

Article excerpt

A LINGUISTICS professor who lives a hermit-like existence at Upper Duroby translating books was convicted in Tweed Heads Local Court yesterday of drink-driving.

The court heard Gwendolyn Irene Driebeek was afraid a French couple who had recently visited her had been trapped in the Victorian bushfires and decided to drive to get help, despite never having held an Australian licence.

According to police, the 55-year-old was seen driving down Bilambil Road at 4.30pm DST on February 12 with a dog on her lap. The officers turned around so they could speak to her, and saw the vehicle drive into a property.

After five tries Driebeek was able to produce a breath test that tested positive for alcohol. She later blew .125 per cent blood alcohol concentration.

Driebeek's solicitor, Russell Baxter, said she had a PhD in linguistics and had come to Australia in 1987 from Amsterdam with her husband, who had since died.

"She can speak six languages flu- ently and four not as fluently as she would like," Mr Baxter said. …