Serial drink-driver avoids jail
A man who was nearly six times over the legal limit and on his seventh drink-driving charge has been spared a stint in prison.
Thane Robert Harris, 39, of Spring Creek, near Blenheim, crashed into a pole on October 22 last year.
His breath alcohol level was 1457 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 250mcg.
Judge Bruce Davidson it was one of the highest readings he had ever encountered, ‘‘especially in recent years’’.
Harris had six previous convictions for drink-driving from 1996 to 2011, which complicated matters ‘‘even more’’, judge Davidson said.
‘‘The saving grace for you was that your last offence occurred on the 15th of November, 2011, about seven years prior to this,’’ he said.
Judge Davidson said despite this, he had ‘‘no doubt’’ Harris was an alcoholic.
‘‘The features are self-evident. Your [breath-alcohol] reading was very high. You were involved in a car crash and have had similar convictions in the past,’’ he said. ‘‘Your living arrangements are not ideal as you seem to be surrounded by other flatmates who misuse and abuse alcohol as well.
‘‘You’re unemployed, and drug and alcohol testing makes it clear you would benefit from counselling.’’
Harris admitted to drinkdriving, careless driving and driving without a licence at the Blenheim
Judge Davidson said Harris was on good standing due to a guilty plea, a willingness to undertake counselling and ‘‘a lull’’ between incidents.
‘‘Make no mistake, jail is the appropriate starting point, and were it not for electronic monitoring having been invented a decade ago, you would be sent there for seven to nine months,’’ judge Davidson said.
Harris was convicted on the drink-driving charge and sentenced to six months’ District Court on community detention with a curfew at his Spring Creek address, the maximum time available.
He also sentenced Harris to 12 months’ supervision, with conditions to undertake alcohol counselling alongside drug and alcohol testing as directed by probation.
Harris was also ordered to complete a drink-driver programme and was disqualified from driving for 18 months.
He was convicted and discharged on the charges of careless driving and driving without a licence.