Drink driving charge argues about status of road

SAHIBAN KANWAL
Last updated 05:00 03/07/2014

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When is a road not a road was the challenge raised by Temuka man David O'Flynn-Madden when he appeared in the Timaru District Court yesterday.

The 44-year-old was defending a charge of driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle on the Orari River mouth access road with an excess breath-alcohol level of 1212 micrograms per litre of breath on January 27 this year.

O'Flynn-Madden did not dispute that he was intoxicated but contested the claim that he drove on a road. For the purposes of the case, a road was defined as any area accessible to the public.

The prosecution called three witnesses, including the police constable who attended the scene, and a fellow fisherman and his partner, who claimed to have witnessed the defendant driving erratically and doing wheelies on the access road.

The second witness, Christina Andrews, called police about the defendant. "He was driving up and down the stopbank on the gravel road. I saw him doing burnouts and wheel spins up on the stopbank," she told the court.

"He was driving to and fro from the stopbank, starting at around 7pm when he had an altercation with Eric [another fisherman] . . .

"He drove off and went up to the stopbank close to his campsite.

"He said he used the access road to get away from the altercation with Eric."

She was in her van watching out the front window.

O'Flynn-Madden said he did not drive on the access road when he was drunk. He did drive on the road prior to drinking, about 11am. Judge Joanna Maze said she needed to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was seen driving a motor vehicle on the access road.

"I am going to reserve the decision because the case rests entirely on the reliability of the witnesses," the judge said.

The defendant was remanded at large until July 29.

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- The Timaru Herald

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