Sen­tenced to for ne­glect of young son

Stratford Press - - The Country - By ABE LEACH

A Taranaki fa­ther has been sen­tenced to com­mu­nity work af­ter get­ting his 10-year-old son to drive for him be­cause he was drunk.

The man, who can­not be named to pro­tect the iden­tity of his child, was charged with ne­glect for the in­ci­dent which hap­pened just af­ter mid­night on June 3.

Po­lice saw a ve­hi­cle parked while still stick­ing out on to the road near a New Ply­mouth bar. When of­fi­cers ap­proached they saw a child be­hind the wheel, and his in­tox­i­cated fa­ther in the pas­sen­ger seat.

When ques­tioned at the scene, the man said his son had driven from Spotswood to the bar, about 4km. He told of­fi­cers his son had acted as his sober driver many times be­fore.

The man pleaded guilty in New Ply­mouth District Court.

At sen­tenc­ing de­fence lawyer Jo Woodcock told the court the man has ac­cepted he has “some form” of al­co­holism, and has vowed to stop drink­ing.

She said the man has suf­fered a great deal of stress and shame fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent, which was de­scribed as a ter­ri­ble lapse in judg­ment.

The court heard the man is now with a new part­ner in a sta­ble, healthy re­la­tion­ship, and hadn’t seen his child since he was ar­rested.

Judge Philippa Cun­ning­ham said the in­ci­dent was a gross breach of trust be­tween a par­ent and their child, and that it caused po­ten­tial harm to the man, his son, and other road users.

“It’s a ter­ri­ble les­son to give a child, that they are able to drive a car at age 10.”

The court was told the man had pre­vi­ously faced drink driv­ing charges, but Judge Cun­ning­ham said some good had come from the re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence.

“You’ve found your drink­ing to be prob­lem­atic. If you didn’t drink to ex­cess you’d prob­a­bly never have ap­peared be­fore the court ever.”

The judge said the start­ing point was 18 months’ im­pris­on­ment, but ac­knowl­edged both Po­lice and the de­fence see su­per­vi­sion and com­mu­nity work as suf­fi­cient to de­ter fur­ther of­fend­ing. The man was sen­tenced to 100 hours com­mu­nity work, 12 months’ in­ten­sive su­per­vi­sion, dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for six months, and re­quired to at­tend al­co­holism and par­ent­ing pro­grammes.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.