'Menace' on 14th conviction jailed

Last updated 05:00 24/07/2013

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A man who racked up his 14th conviction for drink-driving was called a menace yesterday when sentenced to jail.

Gregory Paul Sykes, 54, of Milton, appeared before Judge Stephen Coyle in Balclutha District Court and was sentenced to 13 months' jail and disqualified from driving for two years for driving with a blood alcohol level of 168mg on March 13. The limit is 80mg.

Judge Coyle said Sykes' drink-driving spanned from 1987 to 2010 and he had had a variety of sen- tences in the past, from jail to community work and disqualification, and was clearly a recidivist drink-driver.

"You are clearly a menace on the road," Judge Coyle said.

Sykes' lawyer argued against a jail sentence and called for something that would offer rehabilitation to "break the cycle" of his offending.

Sykes had a "colourful life" and had spent most of his adult life incacarated, she said.

However, Judge Coyle said he was not prepared to play russian roulette with the public.

He also said Sykes came from a community that did not appear to have any willingness to change the number of drink-drivers among it.

Sykes' latest offending happened when he failed to negotiate a bend and his car overturned and ended up in a paddock.

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- The Southland Times

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