Drink-driver kicked police car radio

19:11, Sep 17 2012

A Rai Valley man has no memory of smashing a police radio after being arrested for driving with an alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.

In Blenheim District Court yesterday, Benjamin Rick MacDonald, 27, a fisherman of Rai Valley, admitted driving with a breath alcohol level of 945mcg (legal limit is 400mcg) and wilful damage.

MacDonald was disqualified from driving for 11 months, sentenced to 180 hours' community work and six months' supervision to complete alcohol counselling, and ordered to pay $296 reparation.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Mark Lucas said police were called early in the morning of September 11 by a truck driver concerned about a car veering all over the road, including crossing the centre line.

Police stopped MacDonald about 5.45am near Okaramio and he told them he needed to get to Rarangi, where his girlfriend was working after she kicked him out of the house the night before, Mr Lucas said.

He admitted drinking "lots of beers", he said.


The officers put MacDonald in their car while they dealt with an intoxicated passenger in his car, but while they were doing that MacDonald kicked the police radio in the car, breaking a microphone valued at $296, Mr Lucas said.

Defence lawyer Rennie Gould said MacDonald had been drinking the night before but had slept before driving. It was his second drink-driving conviction, she said.

Judge Tony Zohrab said the level of alcohol in MacDonald's system was very high and that he had slept before driving, giving the body time to process some of the alcohol, suggested some issues with the amount he was drinking.

"If you went to sleep before you drove, you must have consumed a huge amount of alcohol," he said.

Tania Jean Herbert, 26, of Picton admitted driving with a breath alcohol level of 769mcg and was disqualified from driving for six months and fined $700.

Mr Lucas said Herbert admitted drinking during the evening after being stopped at a checkpoint on Waikawa Rd, Picton about 1.12am on September 7.

Mrs Gould said Herbert had not eaten during the evening and accepted she should have realised she was over the limit. Judge Zohrab said it was Herbert's first appearance in court.

The Marlborough Express