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Jackie Gillies Husband Ben Claims He Struggled To Cope With Wife’s Absence During Her Stint On ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’ Which Caused Him A Two-Week Alcohol Relapse When He Was Caught Drink-Driving!

Ben Gillies was in the midst of a two-week alcohol relapse because his wife, Real Housewives of Melbourne star Jackie Gillies was away in South Africa filming I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! when he got behind the wheel of a car after a night of drinking and crashed into a power pole in Newcastle, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Gillies, who is best known as the drummer of the multi-ARIA award-winning rock band Silverchair, appeared in Newcastle Local Court earlier this month where he was told by Magistrate Peter Barnett, SC, that he was “very much at peril” of going to jail.

“He is just below the high-range [drink driving level] and has a high degree of moral culpability,” Mr Barnett said.

“He accelerates away from a set of traffic lights, loses control and puts his motor vehicle into a power pole with a passenger in the car.

“And he has a terrible driving record. For 18 years he has shown a complete disregard for other people’s safety.”

Gillies had pleaded guilty to mid-range drink driving and negligent driving after he “accelerated harshly” around a corner and crashed into a power pole in Maitland Road, Islington about 12.45am on January 21. He was breath-tested and returned a reading of 0.144, nearly three times the legal limit, reports the publication.

Gillies legal representative, Craig Robinson, said Ben had struggled with “alcohol problems in the past”, but he had been sober for four years prior to around the time of the crash.

“His wife went to South Africa to film a TV program,” Robinson said of Gillies’ wife’s spot on the latest season of Channel Ten’s I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!

"A condition of the program is that they don’t have any phones so he had no contact with her."

Robinson said Gillies “wasn’t coping with that separation and that’s when he lapsed and consumed alcohol for a period of about two weeks, before and after the crash”.

But Robinson said Gillies now had his drinking “under control” and was remorseful and aware that he could have seriously injured or killed someone.

Robinson submitted to Mr Barnett that the subsequent media coverage that had flowed from Gillies' arrest and “fall from grace” amounted to extra-curial punishment, essentially additional hardship not imposed by the court.

But Mr Barnett strongly disagreed and said Gillies’ case was not exceptional. After much argument, Mr Barnett was ultimately persuaded to avoid sending Gillies to jail or sentencing him to a community service order, instead imposing an 18-month good behaviour bond, a $2200 fine and a 12-month disqualification, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Court transcript courtesy via The Sydney Morning Herald

Photo Credit: Foxtel