Recidivist drink-driver packed bag

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 09:05 10/04/2014

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Recidivist drink driver Terrence Body appeared to have accepted his fate when he arrived at court for sentencing yesterday.

The 46-year-old, of Waitara, turned up to the New Plymouth District Court with his bag packed. He was to be sentenced on his seventh drunk driving charge.

Body had been on his way to work and was caught driving, at 5.15am along Devon St on December 14 with a breath alcohol level of 496 micrograms. The legal limit is 400mcg.

His lawyer, Julian Hannam, said the alcohol had still been in Body's system from the night before.

Hannam said Body had a reasonable expectation that he was all right to drive after a night's sleep and eating breakfast.

He said Body had immediately pleaded guilty to the charge. "He's always accepted that the most likely outcome was going to be a term of imprisonment."

Judge Allan Roberts said that Body had six convictions dating back to 1988. Body's most recent conviction was in 2012 when he had a breath alcohol reading of 867mcg and received a sentence of home detention and was given a second final warning.

He said Body knew what was going to follow this conviction. "On every future occasion you are brought to account you will go to jail and the sentences will get longer, you have exhausted all other options."

The judge sentenced Body to six months' imprisonment and disqualified him from driving for 12 months and one day. After the disqualification period Body was able to apply for a zero alcohol licence. He was also ordered to attend alcohol and drug counselling.

A passionate plea from his lawyer could not stop recidivist drink driver Steven Purdie from being sent to jail.

Purdie, of Waitara, appeared for sentencing on his sixth drink-driving charge.

He had been stopped at 4.30pm on December 5, on Grey St, Waitara, and was found to have a breath alcohol level of 509 micrograms.

The 48-year-old told police he had only had one pint and one can of beer.

His lawyer, Kylie Pascoe, asked for the least restrictive sentence of home detention be imposed.

She said Purdie wouldn't be a danger to other road users as he adhered to disqualifications and court ordered sentences.

Purdie's breath alcohol level had not been excessive, Pascoe said, but she agreed it was not acceptable. Purdie had been to programmes to address his drinking and accepted his car would be confiscated as a result of the offending.

But the judge did not accept her arguments. "I am going to jail him, is there anything you want to say to me about the length of the jail sentence? Every single one of them is for the same thing, every chance has been extended to you."

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He sentenced Purdie to six months' imprisonment and imposed special release conditions, including alcohol and drug counselling. Purdie was disqualified from driving for 12 months and one day and had to apply for a zero alcohol licence when the disqualification ended.

The judge also ordered Purdie's car, worth about $1000, be confiscated.

Ronald Edward Atkinson was sentenced to six months in jail when he appeared in court on his sixth drink- driving charge.

He had been stopped driving on South Rd, New Plymouth, at 9.40pm on December 20 and was found to have a breath alcohol level of 867mcg. The 55-year-old's wife and two children were in the car at the time.

Judge Roberts said while Atkinson didn't believe he had an alcohol problem, he disagreed. "You say you don't have a problem, you say it was a one-off mistake, yet you now have six convictions."

Atkinson was disqualified from driving for 12 months and one day.

- Taranaki Daily News

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