Tawa drink-driver on the road again
One of New Zealand's worst drink-drivers is back behind the wheel after getting his licence back, despite 23 convictions and an indefinite ban.
Sixty-three-year-old Kenneth Morgan, of Tawa, was disqualified indefinitely in 2005 when he was sentenced to three years in prison for his 23rd drink-driving charge.
He was freed in 2008 and decided to apply for his licence again this year.
His indefinite disqualification was lifted on June 5 after he passed a drug and alcohol assessment, and he was given a full licence later that month after sitting his theory and practical tests.
Mr Morgan has spent more than 20 years in jail since the 1980s on various driving and theft offences.
While behind bars he has completed several counselling and vocational courses.
"As far as I'm concerned I have done my time for everything, and I've got all the paperwork to prove it," he said this week when he contacted The Dominion Post to say he had his licence back.
Mr Morgan acknowledged that people might be concerned to see him back on the road, but insisted he had never injured anybody or crashed while drink- driving.
"I have never even hit a letterbox. People hit letterboxes while sober, so you could say I'm better at driving than they are."
His high conviction rate was down to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he said.
"People can get away with it for years, but I've just been one of the unlucky ones."
However, he did not want to put himself or the public at risk again.
"I'm having a drink right now, but I'm not going to jump in my car and head off down the road."
A Parole Board decision when he was freed in 2008 said he "will not stop drinking alcohol and does not intend to stop drinking", but would "try very hard not to drive a motor vehicle".
But this week he said he was sure he would not be caught drink-driving again.
"Never. I'm going to be squeaky clean."
NZ Transport Agency spokesman Andy Knackstedt said Mr Morgan had met all the criteria to have his licence reissued.
"There are no grounds under current legislation which would allow the agency to withhold the reissue of Mr Morgan's licence," Mr Knackstedt said.
Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said that Mr Morgan's licence being returned so easily sent the wrong message.
"The goalposts keep moving. You say he is banned with one hand, but then use the other to give it straight back to him."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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