Pub­lic safety out­weighs drunk driver’s hard­ship

Kapi-Mana News - - COURT -

A Can­nons Creek man who lost his li­cence af­ter go­ing on a drunken beer run at 4am is a driver by trade and the only mem­ber of his fam­ily who can drive.

Maleko Solo Ah Kiong, 34, was caught by po­lice on War­spite Ave while driv­ing to get more beer at 3.55am on Au­gust 25.

His blood al­co­hol level was 644 mi­cro­grams per litre of breath. The le­gal limit is 400.

Ah Kiong, who used a Samoan in­ter­preter, was sen­tenced to 100 hours’ com­mu­nity work and nine months’ su­per­vi­sion at Porirua Dis­trict Court last Tues­day.

He was also or­dered to un­dergo coun­selling and was dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for a year.

His lawyer So­nia This­toll ar­gued that Ah Kiong should be al­lowed to ap­ply for a lim­ited li­cence so he could con­tinue his job as a trac­tor driver at the Wellington ports, and so he could drive to and from work at all hours of the day and night for his shifts.

His ir­reg­u­lar work hours pre­cluded reg­u­lar use of pub­lic trans­port.

Ah Kiong’s wife and five chil­dren would also suf­fer from his in­abil­ity to drive, be­cause none of them could, Ms This­toll said.

How­ever, Judge John Walker said he had to bal­ance other driv­ers’ safety against the in­con­ve­nience Ah Kiong’s dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion would cause.

‘‘I un­der­stand the hard­ship, but there’s a pub­lic safety is­sue,’’ he said.

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