Drink-driver who fled police admits charges

Last updated 05:00 05/08/2014

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A 23-year-old man admitted a string of charges at the Blenheim District Court yesterday, after he fled police and crashed his car while drunk.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Jason Munro said Joseph Tony John Burt was at home in Blenheim on July 9 with his partner and her sister. The unemployed man had been drinking alcohol and began arguing with his partner in his car.

Burt became upset and wanted his partner to get out of the car but she refused because she was worried he would drink-drive. He was subject to a zero-alcohol licence at the time.

Burt forced her out of the car, causing her to fall to the ground, before reversing and hitting her with the car door. Her sister shut the gate to try to stop Burt leaving but he drove straight through the gate, Munro said.

He then twice threatened to kill his partner's sister before getting in the car and driving to the BP Express petrol station in Main St, where he put $80 of petrol into his car and left without paying. Burt drove south along State Highway 1 towards Ward, and police began following him from Riverlands.

They activated their lights and siren but Burt continued to drive, reaching speeds of 120kmh.

Police abandoned the pursuit and Burt continued driving, before losing control of his car south of Ward. He was found by police in Ward with about 1 gram of cannabis on him. When police retrieved the car they found a cannabis bong and grinder inside it.

A breath alcohol test showed he had a level of 180 micrograms per litre of breath.

Burt was remanded in custody for sentencing on September 8 on charges of threatening behaviour, assault, failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, drink-driving, shoplifting and theft, which included two further thefts of petrol from different petrol stations.

He was remanded until October 6 on a charge of aggravated burglary, which he has denied.

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- The Marlborough Express

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