A Wellington man caught drunk driving twice in a day with breath alcohol levels more than three times the legal limit had previously been drunk in charge of a Navy ship.
George Norman Anderson had been court-martialled years ago and put in a military prison for being drunk in charge of a ship.
Wellington District Court judge Bill Hastings told Anderson he was a danger to the public and the facts of his case made harrowing reading.
If he counted the military charge it made convictions numbered four and five Anderson was now facing, the judge said,
Anderson, 40, had pleaded guilty to two charges of excess breath alcohol, dangerous driving and driving while suspended.
He was spotted by members of the public weaving across road lanes and hitting the median barrier on May 12 and police were called. He was coming out Terrace Tunnel when he slowed and came to a stop in a layby. Quick thinking motorists blocked him in.
After being processed at the Wellington police station he was released, without his car or his keys.
A family member returned to the keys to him and he was spotted driving on State HIghway Two before he pulled over and was again spoken to by other concerned motorists.
The first time he had a reading of 1361 micrograms and the second time it was 1325. The legal limit is 400.
Anderson had two previous criminal convictions for drunk driving, one from 2012.
Judge Hastings said an assessment showed Anderson had never gone more than two months without drinking.
His lawyer Carrie Parkin said it had been a company car, suffered $5000 of damage and he had lost his job.
She said since being caught he had been to four different types of counselling. His offending and drinking came against a backdrop of mental ill health.
Judge Hastings sentenced Anderson on one of the excess breath alcohol charges only and to remanded the second for months to allow the court to keep track of his rehabilitation.
He gave him five months home detention, 100 hours community work and disqualified him from driving indefinitely.
The ususual sentencing would mean Anderson was back before Judge Hastings in five months to be sentenced again.
Judge Hastings said the sentencing screamed out for the public safety to be taken into account. However Anderson would not get any rehabilitation in prison. Instead he would do home detention then come back and be sentenced to intensive supervision to keep his rehabilitation on track.
Judge Hastings commended the motorists who conspired to stop Anderson and keep others safe.
- The Dominion Post