Se­rial drink-driver avoids jail

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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