Two men admit drink-driving

Last updated 14:00 19/02/2013

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Two men were charged with drink-driving after one of them crashed the car they were in and then the other one took the wheel and was caught by police, a court has been told.

Alec Vincent Rakatau, 29, and Michael Brian Willis, 32, both factory hands of Spring Creek, admitted charges of drink-driving when they appeared in the Blenheim District Court yesterday. Willis also admitted a charge of driving while disqualified.

Rakatau whose excess breath alcohol was measured at 1079mcg (legal limit 400mcg) was sentenced to nine months' supervision to complete drug and alcohol counselling, 80 hours' community work and disqualified from driving for eight months. Willis whose excess breath alcohol was measured at 521mcg was remanded for sentencing on April 8.

Prosecutor Mark Harris said Willis was convicted of drink-driving on November 26 last year and disqualified from driving.

Judge Susan Thomas said Willis was also serving a sentence of intensive supervision imposed after his November conviction to help him sort out his drinking problems.

It was also Rakatau's second drink-driving offence, after he was convicted in 2005, she said.

Mr Harris said the pair had been at a party in Girling Ave, Blenheim, on February 7 when they decided to leave about 10pm.

Rakatau initially drove the car, but as he was backing out of the driveway, he hit the house and then a lamp post on the other side of the road, and after driving to Hutcheson St he decided to switch places with Willis, he said.

Police stopped Willis in Budge St because of his driving, he said.

Judge Thomas said an alcohol assessment showed Rakatau drank heavily at the weekends and was willing to get help for his drinking.

Also in court on drink-driving charges yesterday:

Paul Melvin Park, 46, a labourer of Blenheim was sentenced to nine months' supervision for alcohol counselling, 200 hours' community work, disqualified from driving for a year and one day and ordered to hold a zero alcohol licence for three years when he got his licence back after earlier admitting driving with excess blood alcohol of 299mg.

It was his fourth drink-driving conviction.

Judge Thomas said Park's driving on December 4 was so bad that a member of the public took the keys from his car and another person had called police.

A pre-sentence report said he did not remember the night because he was too drunk, but he was remorseful for his offending and had started counselling and was attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, she said.

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His employers had written a letter supporting him and were keen to keep him on as long as possible, she said.

Michael William Mason, 32, admitted excess breath alcohol 634mcg his fourth drink-driving offence and was sentenced to nine months' supervision to undergo drug and alcohol counselling, 120 hours' community work, disqualified from driving for a year and one day. Mr Harris said Mason offered no explanation for his drink-driving when he was stopped by police in Arthur St about 4.05am on January 19.

Defence lawyer Rennie Gould said it was clear Mason had an ongoing issue with alcohol and was willing to undergo counselling. Judge Thomas said Mason also had previous drug-related convictions and really needed help.

Invaldo de Jesus Pereira Junior, 37, of Riversdale admitted excess blood alcohol of 156mg (legal limit 80mg) and was sentenced to 80 hours' community work, disqualified from driving for eight months and ordered to hold a zero alcohol licence for three years when he got his licence back.

Mr Harris said he was stopped while driving in Alfred St, Blenheim, on December 21. Mrs Gould said it was Pereira Junior's second conviction, but he was working looking after two children and had not drunk since December 21.

Isiah Mohi Murrell, 26, a fisherman of Picton, admitted driving with excess breath alcohol of 596mcg and was remanded to March 4 for sentencing.

Mr Harris said Murrell was driving from a party in Waikawa Rd about 1am on Sunday morning when he accelerated hard and lost control of the car hitting another car and a retaining wall before coming to a stop back on the road. He left the car, but was found and admitted the incident saying he had an argument with his partner and was angry. Judge Thomas postponed the sentencing to allow the cost of the damage he caused to be worked out.

Cleo Joy Eda Farrow, 22, a manager of Witherlea, admitted excess breath alcohol of 839mcg and was fined $700 and disqualified from driving for six months. Mr Harris said Farrow was stopped on SH1 near Blenheim on February 9. Defence lawyer Bryony Millar said it was Farrow's first conviction. Her offending was caused by personal difficulties not a drinking problem, Mrs Millar said.

- The Marlborough Express

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