Booze checkpoint driven past

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 07:00 26/09/2012

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Instead of stopping at a breath-testing checkpoint, a Linton soldier kept driving forward.

About 11.40pm on September 7, Ramon Howard John Mahu failed  to stop at Ferguson St, Palmerston North, turned into Ranfurly St and eventually pulled over in the Caltex petrol station  on the corner of College St and Fitzherbert Ave.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Stu Oram told  Palmerston North District Court yesterday that Mahu, 27, couldn’t  complete a breath test and refused to give a blood sample.

Defence lawyer Simon Parsons said his client had a tour of Afghanistan under his belt and had been in the military for 9 1/2 years.

“He says he really can’t remember much of what happened and he can’t explain his actions,’’ Mr Parsons said.

“He says he had a flat tyre and was driving to the garage to sort it out.”

Judge Gerard Lynch heard from an army representative, who said Mahu, a mechanic, was a good worker.

Rather than being dismissed from the military, he would be placed on an extended warning period.

The judge said every taxpayer in the courtroom would be relieved to hear the money invested into training Mahu wasn’t going to waste.

On one charge each of failing to stop for police and refusing to give a blood sample, Mahu was sentenced to 100 hours’ community work, nine months’ supervision and disqualified from driving for nine months.

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- Manawatu Standard

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