One of Australian PR’s biggest names, Heidi Virtue (pictured), has been threatened with two years in prison after a second high-range drink driving conviction.
Virtue has held roles in some of Australia’s biggest media companies, including Foxtel, Channel Nine and Southern Cross Austereo. She is reportedly currently working for Bauer Media on the upcoming TV Week Logie Awards.
Yesterday, a Sydney judge said a “two year prison sentence was appropriate” after she blew .210 in a random breath test in October last year. However, the decision has been reserved following an intensive corrections order assessment.
The court heard that Virtue had been drinking wine for 20 hours straight before her arrest in a Mosman street at 4pm. Virtue’s Mercedes had been seen swerving erratically and had panel damage. It has been reported that one of her children was in the car at the time.
A police report noted: “Her eyes were bloodshot and glazed, her speech was slow and slurred, she was unsteady on her feet, she was unstable and she was confused by simple questions and instructions.”
Virtue has reportedly suffered from alcoholism and depression and has sought treatment at a rehabilitation facility.
Yesterday, her lawyer said her latest arrest had been a turning point in Virtue’s life and she’d been “a particularly troubled person reaching a crisis point”. She had since taken “quite courageous steps’ to stop drinking, the Daily Mail has reported.
“There is a long-standing history of difficulty which has troubled Ms Virtue,” her lawyer told the court, as he sought to have the case dealt with under the Mental Health Act. A request denied by the judge. The case has been adjourned to a later date.