Singer Paulini has been ordered off the road again, six years after she was convicted of bribing a government official to obtain a driver’s licence.
The former Australian Idol contestant, whose first album debuted at number one on the ARIA charts and went platinum, pleaded guilty to driving while suspended.
The 41-year-old did not appear in Sutherland Local Court and was not legally represented when the case was dealt with in her absence late last month.
Magistrate Holly Kemp fined Paulini $300 and disqualified her from driving for three months from November 28.
The songwriter, whose full name is Paulini Waninoke Curuenavuli, first tasted fame in 2003 when she placed fourth in the first season of Australian Idol.
Her career and personal life have had highs and lows since then but her record behind the wheel has been consistently appalling.
Paulini spent almost 20 years on learner plates committing a string of traffic infringements before finally passing her driving test in May 2021.
Singer Paulini has been ordered off the road again, six years after she was convicted of bribing a government official to obtain a driver’s licence. The 41-yar-old is pictured outside court on the day she pleading guilty to the bribery offence
Six years ago Paulini was given a six-month suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to bribing a public official to unlawfully obtain a driver’s licence.
Back then, court documents revealed the Fijian-born performer had clocked up 11 driving offences since she first got her learner’s permit in November 2002.
In that time she had been caught three times driving unaccompanied while on her learner’s permit, speeding (three times) and not displaying her L plates (also three times).
Paulini had been nabbed driving on a cancelled licence and driving on an expired licence. She had been disqualified a total of 15 months and amassed $4,117 in fines.
Paulini pleaded guilty to the bribery offence in September 2017 at Mount Druitt Local Court and was sentenced in December that year.
The court heard she had paid a Roads and Maritime Services employee $850 in July 2016 for an unrestricted driver’s licence after her learner’s permit was taken away three months earlier.
The bribery offence carried a maximum penalty of seven years in jail and Paulini was required to be of good behaviour for six months.
The former Australian Idol contestant has pleaded guilty to driving while suspended. She did not appear in Sutherland Local Court and the matter was dealt with in her absence
An appeal against the severity of the sentence was withdrawn at the District Court in February 2018 after Judge Jane Culver warned Paulini was considering a harsher penalty for the crime.
Having risen to fame on Australian Idol, Paulini claimed a rough patch in her life led her to make poor choices, including bribing the RMS official.
‘I went through a very traumatic breakup from a tumultuous relationship,’ she wrote in a letter tendered to the court.
‘I am embarrassed to say this was not the first relationship I had been in involving domestic violence and low self-esteem.
‘In addition to the breakdown of my relationship, my failed album release had cost me my savings and the relationship with the record label.’
Claiming that she was on the brink of homelessness, Paulini revealed she was forced to move in with her parents, who she had financially supported throughout her career.
‘I was completely overwhelmed and did not feel like a role model to my family or fans,’ she wrote to the court.
‘The lack of a driver’s licence… was yet another layer to my lack of self-worth.’
Paulini went on to describe her decision to bribe the official as ‘foolish’ and asked her fans for forgiveness.
Paulini announced she had finally legally obtained a driver’s licence in a May 2021 Facebook post accompanied by a picture of her with a new car (above)
She was performing the lead role of Rachel Marron in a musical production of The Bodyguard at the Lyric Theatre at the time.
In May 2021, Paulini announced she had legally obtained a driver’s licence in a Facebook post which included a picture of her new Audi.
‘So something happened,’ she wrote. ‘This time I did it the right way… The legal way. I got my LICENCE, I sat the test, I did the driving test and I passed.’
‘I can’t tell you how empowering it feels to have done it. I learnt to trust in my own ability.
‘Last attempt, I didn’t have the confidence that I could do it… I was so wracked with anxiety… (So I tried to buy one… and we all know how that ended).’
‘A massive thank you to my driving tester, you helped to make me feel comfortable in my own skin.
‘It’s a new day! Give me a wave if you see me out and about on the roads.’