Repeat drink-driver spends Christmas in jail

AMY MAAS
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2012

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A West Auckland man jailed for his 15th drink-driving conviction will spend Christmas in prison after failing in a bid to overturn his sentence.

Paul James Daniels' appeal against an 18-month prison sentence was dismissed by Justice Paul Heath at the High Court in Auckland yesterday.

He was sentenced in October in the Waitakere District Court by Judge Lisa Tremewan on his 15th drink-driving conviction. 

His previous convictions spanned a period from 1983 to 2005.

In his appeal, Daniels' lawyer Christopher Wilkinson-Smith challenged the method adopted by the sentencing judge, the level of credit given for a guilty plea and for the fact the judge did not consider home detention.

In dismissing the appeal, Justice Heath said the appeal could not succeed because the sentencing judge had not ''erred in law'' and the ''transparency of the sentence was clear''.

The court heard yesterday that on April 24, 2011, Daniels had a fight with his wife. He had driven the 4km from his home in Henderson on his way to his brother's home when he was stopped in Glendene.  

Police said he ''exhibited signs of alcohol consumption'' and a breath test indicated he was over twice the legal breath alcohol limit after blowing 859 micrograms per litre of breath. The legal limit is 400mg per litre of breath.

He entered a not guilty plea in May 2011, however, he changed his plea to guilty a month later.

The court heard Daniels would drink six cans of beer each night, which indicated ''alcohol abuse was a life-long problem''.

Daniels did not attempt to take part in any alcohol programme until a date was set for his defended hearing. 

In sentencing him, Judge Tremewan noted that his efforts to address his addiction were "too little too late''.

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