Farmer skips break to help sick cow

Marlborough Express - - NEWS -

A farmer who drove more than seven hours with­out a break says he was wor­ried for the wel­fare of one of his cows.

Alan James McConachie was driv­ing a truck from Te­muka, near Ti­maru, to Pic­ton on the al­ter­nate high­way on May 3.

He left at 9am and took a 30-minute break at Am­ber­ley at 12.30pm, but did not en­ter any more breaks in his log book be­fore reach­ing Marl­bor­ough.

Po­lice stopped McConachie on State High­way 63 in Wairau Val- ley, about 38 kilo­me­tres west of Blen­heim, about 8.30pm.

They checked his log book and found he was more than two hours over­due for an­other 30-minute break, the po­lice sum­mary said.

McConachie told po­lice he had no­ticed one of his cows was ly­ing down and looked sick.

He de­cided to skip his break so he could get to Pic­ton as quickly as pos­si­ble so he could check the cow as the stock came off the trailer.

McConachie ad­mit­ted a charge of fail­ing to have a legally-re­quired break at the Blen­heim Dis­trict Court on Mon­day.

His lawyer Kent Arnott said cows ly­ing down in a trailer were at risk of be­ing tram­pled by other cows. McConachie was un­able to get the cow to stand up, and acted out of con­cerns for the an­i­mal’s wel­fare, Arnott said.

A driver who failed to take suf­fi­cient breaks could lose their li­cence, but Arnott said the judge could ac­cept there were spe­cial rea­sons for the of­fence and de­cide not to dis­qual­ify McConachie from driv­ing. If McConachie lost his li­cence he would be un­able to work for at least a month while he ap­plied for a lim­ited li­cence, Arnott said.

Po­lice did not op­pose Arnott’s sug­ges­tion. McConachie had no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions.

Judge David Ruth said he un­der­stood the dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion McConachie found him­self in, and ac­cepted there were spe­cial rea­sons for the of­fence. He de­cided not to dis­qual­ify McConachie, but con­victed him and fined him $300.

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