Drunk boatie be­rated

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

A Mata­mata farmer who had sev­eral crashes and near misses while driv­ing his boat drunk on Lake Kara­piro has been sen­tenced to com­mu­nity work.

Matthew Dodd was con­victed and sen­tenced to 100 hours’ com­mu­nity work, nine months’ su­per­vi­sion and or­dered to un­der­take drug and al­co­hol coun­selling and a boat safety course in the Mor­rinsville Dis­trict Court last week.

How­ever, at sen­tenc­ing Judge David Ruth said if he had the power to ban him from boat­ing for­ever, he would.

Boats could be more lethal than cars and Dodd was ’’a men­ace’’ who could have killed, Judge Ruth said.

Dodd was in­volved in a se­ries of in­ci­dents that placed other peo­ple, in­clud­ing a two-year-old boy, in dan­ger on De­cem­ber 28 and 29 last year.

He told a Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil hon­orary en­force­ment of­fi­cer that he was hav­ing a weekend to him­self and ’’get­ting on the booze’’.

‘‘He stated he had wanted to go away by him­self to get away from the pres­sures of the farm and hav­ing two young chil­dren at home,’’ the sum­mary of facts said.

He had sev­eral col­li­sions and near misses with other boat users, wake­board­ers and kayak­ers on the lake.

One in­ci­dent in­volved him driv­ing his 3.5 me­tre boat across the top of another ves­sel caus­ing mi­nor in­jury to its occupant. He also drove in the dark with no lights.

A po­lice of­fi­cer who was called to one of the in­ci­dents de­scribed Dodd as ‘‘ex­tremely in­tox­i­cated,’’ the sum­mary of facts said.

’’He was un­steady on his feet, his face was flushed, he smelt of al­co­hol, and he slurred his words to the point that he was very dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand. He had white spit­tle at the cor­ner of his mouth, which ap­peared to have dried.’’

A sec­ond po­lice of­fi­cer said: ’’ When ques­tioned, Dodd was un­able to pro­vide any co­her­ent ex­pla­na­tion for his ac­tions prior to the col­li­sion how­ever I was able to es­tab­lish he had been drink­ing beer, ready to mix drinks and a bot­tle of wine . . .’’

Dodd said he ’’ ex­treme guilt’’ af­ter weekend ben­der.

’’ I’m very sorry to all di­rectly in­volved and my fam­ily for my mis­takes and I am grate­ful to God that no one was hurt,’’ he said.

’’ Have no fear, it will never hap­pen again.’’

He was tak­ing med­i­ca­tion for de­pres­sion at the time and should not have been drink­ing. He had also re­ceived a head in­jury a year ear­lier and was not meant to drink al­co­hol for two years af­ter the ac­ci­dent.

Or­ders were also made for repa­ra­tion for dam­age to two boats. felt the

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