Repeat drink-drivers appeal prison term

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012

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Two New Plymouth repeat drink-drivers have appealed their prison sentences.

Tony Watson Simpson, 40, and Paul Edie, in his 30s, were both jailed earlier this month after they were convicted in the New Plymouth District Court of repeat drink-driving.

In the High Court at New Plymouth yesterday, defence lawyer Amy Dallison, who represented both men, argued that the jail sentences were too severe.

Both were entitled to the least-restrictive penalties - that is, a community-based sentence as recommended in their pre-sentence reports, Ms Dallison said.

Justice Christopher Allan reserved his decisions, noting that there were many other similar appeals where drink-drivers had been jailed. He would release his decisions this week.

Meanwhile, next door in the New Plymouth District Court, three other repeat drink-drivers were given community-based sentences by visiting judge Tony Adeane.

Lyndon Brian King, 26, was sentenced to complete six months' community detention coupled with 100 hours' community work.

From the public gallery, his girlfriend beamed widely after the judge made his decision known.

The court heard that King's latest conviction was his third in six years. It was also his fourth conviction for driving while disqualified.

King was sentenced to complete nine months' supervision to undertake alcohol counselling and driver education, and disqualified from driving for a year and a day.

\ The judge told King he could drink all he liked but he could be sure that as soon as he was caught "touching the wheel" the courts would deal severely with him.

Like King, Hayley Yvonne Louise Verity, 32, was caught over the limit when pulled over at a checkpoint.

Ironically, her partner sitting next to her was a teetotaller but was not driving.

Her lawyer, Eleanor Connole, explained to the judge that Verity was too embarrassed to admit to her partner - who hated alcohol and disapproved of her drinking - that she had drunk half a bottle of wine before picking him up after work.

It was her third drink-driving offence in a short period and she accepted she had a problem, Ms Connole said. Verity was the mother of three young children, she was attending group sessions, and was now abstaining from drinking alcohol.

Verity was sentenced to complete two months' community detention and was disqualified for a year and a day.

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