'Appalling' repeat drink driver jailed for 10 months

Rai Kereopa appeared for sentencing in the Hamilton District Court on Tuesday.
KAYCIE O'CONNOR/FAIRFAX NZ

Rai Kereopa appeared for sentencing in the Hamilton District Court on Tuesday.

A jaunt through Frankton on the wrong side of the road was enough to earn Rai Kereopa a 10-month stint in jail.

The 66-year-old Hamilton man appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Tuesday, on charges of dangerous driving and refusing a police officer's request to provide a blood sample.

Those charges were laid following Kereopa's arrest on July 20 for his meandering trail through Frankton streets, including the major thoroughfares Killarney Rd and Greenwood St, in which he traversed both sides of the centre line.

At one point he drove for 200 metres down one of those streets on the wrong side of the road.

He eventually stopped on Killarney Rd, in front of oncoming traffic on the opposite side of the street.

Police caught up with him shortly after. He refused to undergo either a breath or a blood test to determine his level of intoxication.

Kereopa had numerous previous convictions for both drunk driving and refusing to undergo such tests.

His refusals were possibly made because when he did submit to tests, he returned extremely high alcohol readings.

In 2005 he was found to have 1115 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath - well above the then legal limit of 400 micrograms.

The limit now is 250 micrograms.

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Judge Merelina Burnett declined an application by Kereopa's counsel Lyn Walkington for his sentencing to be adjourned so the option of home detention could be further investigated.

"It's an issue of public safety," said the judge, before jailing Kereopa for 10 months.

"Your driving was appalling and extremely dangerous." 

She also ordered the confiscation of his car and indefinitely disqualified him from driving.

If Kereopa does eventually apply to get back behind the wheel, he will have to apply for a zero alcohol licence.    

 - Stuff

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