Sorry mum, your car's been confiscated

Last updated 13:05 19/02/2014

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A mother of a disqualified driver who borrowed her car to go on a date won't be too happy that her car has been confiscated.

This is the first case of a car belonging to someone other than the driver being confiscated in Nelson but police say it is necessary because taking away the car stops the offending.

Orchard worker Sean William Innes, 37, was convicted for drink driving in the Nelson District Court on January 23 and was sentenced to an indefinite disqualified licence.

Innes' mother, the owner of the Ford Mondeo he drove, was given a warning letter saying that if Innes was found using the car again, it would be confiscated.

Prosecutor Sergeant Graeme Eden told the court that at about 10.22pm on February 7, Innes was travelling north on State Highway 60, the Coastal Highway Mapua, when he was stopped for excess speed on his disqualified licence.

Innes told police that he was taking his passenger on a date.

Mr Eden said it was an interesting case as the public could be seeing more of these cases where cars could be confiscated even if the owner did nothing wrong.

The car would be sold and the money would be used to pay for fines.

The legal rationale was based on data that showed recidivist offenders for drink driving, and driving while disqualified were the ones that caused injuries and deaths on the road.

Further disqualifications, community-based sentences and jail did not stop them re-offending so the car confiscation under Section 129 of the Sentencing Act was brought in, to take away the means of their offending.

Offenders would register their cars in family members' names to prevent confiscations, so warnings were now issued under Section 129B to combat this manoeuvring, he said.

Defence lawyer Luke Acland said confiscating Innes' mother's car would have a great impact on her as she lived in Riwaka and needed the car to travel to work.

The 61-year-old mother sat in the back of the courtroom and was very upset, he said. It was a one-off that Innes was using the car.

Judge Zohrab said the car was to be confiscated and Innes was to be convicted and fined $300 for court costs including a fine of $130 for driving with a disqualified licence.

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- The Nelson Mail

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