Refusal to give sample ends in jail

Last updated 05:00 10/09/2013

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A builder who refused to provide police with a blood specimen after it was believed he was driving under the influence of alcohol was sentenced to four months and two weeks' jail when he appeared in the Queenstown District Court yesterday.

Francis David Fitzgerald, 28, admitted failing to provide the specimen after he was pulled over by police on May 9. Fitzgerald had been drinking at a bar in Queenstown and police were called after he refused to hand over his keys to a concerned bar owner.

When police caught up with him about 11pm, he was seen driving without his lights on and swerving. He stalled his car at the Ballarat St roundabout. Fitzgerald said he had not wanted to leave his new car in town.

It was his third drink-driving-related conviction in three years.

In May 2010, he was caught driving with a breath alcohol level of 1098mcg after he jumped onto an idling bus and released the handbrake. In November 2011, he was caught driving with a level of 1194mcg.

Judge Michael Turner said "you simply have not learnt". Fitzgerald had a "harmful pattern of drinking", and a pre-sentence report stated was in denial about his drinking behaviour, the judge said.

On September 21, Fitzgerald, originally from Ireland, received a deportation notice but had appealed the decision and was allowed to stay in the country pending the outcome of the appeal. The judge ordered Fitzgerald to undertake alcohol treatment and counselling as directed and confiscated Fitzgerald's $47,000 Land Rover.

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- The Southland Times

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