Police oppose Tevita Li application on charge

IAN STEWARD
Last updated 13:32 12/08/2014
Tevita Li
Getty
TEVITA LI: The rising Blues star has applied for a discharge without conviction on his drink driving charge.

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Police are fighting Blues winger Tevita Li from getting a discharge without conviction over his drink driving charge.

Li, who starred for New Zealand at the Junior World Cup, pleaded guilty to drink driving after being caught with a blood alcohol level just over half the adult limit, the morning after a drinking session.

The adult limit is 80mg of alcohol to 100ml of blood but there is zero alcohol limit for anyone under 20.

Li's reading was 45. 

The rugby player applied for a discharge without conviction in the Manukau District Court today with his lawyer Frances Iggulden saying a conviction could present ''barriers'' in his ''very promising'' career.

Post-rugby, Li wanted to become a police officer and a conviction could jeopardise that career path, she said.

A dispute arose when a police prosecutor Lucia Oldenhof said even a discharge without conviction would bar Li from a potential police career.

Judge David McNaughton said he was minded to award the discharge but it would turn on the question of whether it would affect Li's police aspirations.

The discharge issue needed to be resolved before he could make his decision so he adjourned the hearing to September 11 so further evidence could be obtained.

Li made his debut for the Blues as an 18-year-old while still a schoolboy at Massey High School when the franchise took on France in June last year and he played a handful of Super Rugby games this season.

More recently the flying winger starred at the Junior World Cup, scoring a hat-trick in New Zealand's pool play loss to South Africa and five tries in the tournament.

Li could not stop the Baby Blacks losing in the semi-final but his performances saw him nominated for the IRB Junior Player of the Year award.

Blues coach Sir John Kirwan said when Li pleaded guilty that the winger had already been disciplined by the franchise and would not face any further action.

''It was done in-house, he was stood down against the Hurricanes,'' he said. 

''We see it as a minor misdemeanour, and we'll let the courts take their course now. He's pretty disappointed in himself."

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