Drunk mum drove with toddler son on her lap, no licence

Tahi Mary Mahu, 34, told officer she had drunk two boxes of Vodka Cruisers the previous night. She is pictured leaving ...
CHRISTINE CORNEGE/FAIRFAX NZ

Tahi Mary Mahu, 34, told officer she had drunk two boxes of Vodka Cruisers the previous night. She is pictured leaving Huntly District Court after a previous appearance.

A Waikato woman driving drunk with a toddler in her lap nearly crashed into a police patrol car.

Tahi Mary Mahu, 34, of Ngaruawahia, didn't have a valid driver licence, either.

She pleaded guilty before Judge Simon Menzies at the Huntly District Court on Thursday morning on four charges: ill treatment or neglect of a child, driving in a dangerous manner, driving without the appropriate licence, and driving with excess breath alcohol.

They relate to a Sunday afternoon when she was caught drunk with her three-year-old son, who was unrestrained on her lap and gripping the wheel.

The Nissan she was driving swerved into the opposite lane — in front of a police patrol car — on the busy Great South Road in Ngaruawahia about 5.12pm on August 7.

According to the summary of facts read in court, police officers stopped Mahu's vehicle, and a breath test returned a result of 867mcg of alcohol per litre of breath, more than twice the prosecutable limit of 400mcg.

During her appearance, Mahu stood with her back to the body of the court and the public gallery, facing the judge.

Her guilty pleas were entered through lawyer Ian Todd.

The Nissan swerved almost half a car width into the opposite lane before swerving back, according to the summary of facts.

"A police patrol vehicle travelling in the opposite direction had to apply brakes to avoid a collision," the summary said.

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Officers noticed the unrestrained toddler on Mahu's lap and breath-tested her when they stopped the car because she showed signs of being drunk, the summary said.

"In explanation, the defendant stated she had been drinking two boxes of Vodka Cruisers the previous night," the summary said.

Mahu told officers her son was on her lap because he "had gone crazy in the back of the car".

Police said that, at the time, Mahu didn't appear to be worried about her son's welfare.

Mahu has two previous drink-driving convictions - from 2009 and 2010 - the court heard.

Judge Menzies asked for a pre-sentence report and remanded Mahu on bail until her sentencing on November 17, with a warning.

"I would remind you that those bail conditions include the fact that you are not to drive - apart from the fact that you don't have a licence."

 - Stuff

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