A Blenheim woman has avoided being sent to prison after being sentenced for her eighth drink-driving conviction.
In the Blenheim District Court yesterday, Shirley Mary Noah, 59, a cleaner of Mayfield, was sentenced to six months home detention with special conditions including alcohol counselling followed by standard release conditions for six months. She was also disqualified from driving for 18 months. Noah had earlier been found guilty of driving with excess breath alcohol of 783mcg (legal limit is 400mcg) after a defended hearing where she denied the charge.
Judge Paul Whitehead said Noah was caught after a minor traffic incident on April 20 when she opened her car door and it was clipped by another car outside a fish and chip shop.
Noah's previous convictions were between 1991 and 2008, he said.
Defence lawyer Mike Hardy-Jones said Noah had struggled with a longstanding addiction to alcohol and although she had received some alcohol treatment, it was clear she needed more help.
Sentencing her to home detention would be more beneficial for everyone than sending her to prison as she would be a "captive audience" working through rehabilitation rather than in prison where she would not be receiving rehabilitation, he said.
"She's a person who really needs the assistance of the court to help with this addiction," he said.
Apart from her drink-driving convictions she was a good mother and grandmother who had worked hard, holding down two jobs working 11 hours a day to support her family.
Noah was not disqualified from driving at the time, he said. Judge Whitehead said Noah had been given two short jail terms on her past two convictions, but a probation report recommended an electronically monitored sentence this time.
He also took into account her need for rehabilitation, that it had been four years since her last conviction and her position as a hard-working and otherwise good member of the community.
- The Marlborough Express