Man who got boy to drive him home jailed

Last updated 13:30 30/07/2013

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An Auckland grandfather who got drunk and allowed a 7-year-old boy to drive him home has been jailed for 10 months.

Tehere Maihi Maaka, 49, appeared in the Auckland District Court today having previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving with excess breath alcohol and allowing the boy to drive on a public road on January 18.

Court documents showed the Mt Roskill resident "intentionally engaged in conduct" allowing the boy to drive the vehicle, which was "a major departure from the standard of care to be expected of a reasonable person".

Maaka - a storeman who was recently made redundant - was charged with dangerous driving after his BMW was pulled over on Quona Ave at 12.30pm - about 500 metres from his house.

A police unit saw the car drive past with the child in the driver's seat about 2.5 centimetres from the steering wheel with both arms wrapped around it.

As the car moved away from an intersection they saw Maaka in the passenger seat reach over to help steer the vehicle but he could not avoid it hitting the kerb.

When breath-tested, Maaka blew 1059 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath; nearly three times the legal limit.

It was the fourth time in the last nine years he had been convicted of drink-driving.

Judge Christopher Field said he clearly had a serious problem with alcohol.

Maaka's sister, Clara, made an impassioned plea for the judge to grant him home detention, to be served with her in south Waikato, where he could "get the support he needed".

The 48-year-old charitable trust worker from Tokoroa said she could make her brother a productive member of the community but Judge Field said the only appropriate sentence was one of imprisonment.

"You placed a child at serious risk, you're a recidivist drink-driver and driving under the circumstances caused enormous concern for the community at large," he said.

Maaka was also disqualified from driving indefinitely and would have to apply for a three-year "zero-alcohol licence" once the NZ Transport Agency allowed him back behind the wheel.

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