Public safety outweighs drunk driver’s hardship
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.