A driver was almost three times the legal alcohol limit when he crashed his car through a fence and into a brick wall, with his younger brother in the car.
In Blenheim District Court yesterday, Bernard Edward Washbourne, 27, a labourer of Redwoodtown, was sentenced to three months' community detention, 12 months' intensive supervision to complete residential treatment for drug and alcohol addiction and disqualified from driving indefinitely after earlier admitting a charge of excess breath alcohol of 1100mcg (legal limit is 400mcg) and dangerous driving.
He was also ordered to do 50 hours' community work and pay $1905 in reparation to his victims.
Judge Chris Tuohy said Washbourne's actions on May 4 were "frightening".
He had been drinking for several hours at a house in Blenheim before driving away about 1.45am with his younger brother in the car, the judge said. Washbourne accelerated heavily down the road before trying to take a corner at speed and crashing through the fence of one property and into a second property where he hit and broke the brick wall of a garage, damaging a car and a lawnmower inside.
The crash also burst a water main, causing flood and water damage to the house and forcing the frightened family to leave their home.
When police arrived and arrested Washbourne he was aggressive and threatening, Judge Tuohy said.
In a report to the court, an experienced alcohol and drug clinician had described Washbourne as having one of the highest levels of alcohol dependence she had come across.
Defence lawyer John Holdaway said Washbourne admitted his actions were stupid and he was remorseful for the harm caused to his victims. He had completed some of the restorative justice plan ordered by the court and agreed supervision would be helpful for his alcohol addiction.
However, Judge Tuohy said Washbourne had not followed up on alcohol and drug counselling. The report recommended a court order for residential treatment as the only way to make him get help, which would be the best thing for the community, he said.
"It would be easy to send you to prison today. The facts justify it. But I'm not going to take that course, because I think it's better for the community for the court to do its best to rehabilitate you as well as hold you accountable."
- The Marlborough Express