How a good day ended badly

Last updated 14:00 11/04/2014

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It was a sad example of how some very good news ended in a very bad result when a man appeared in court for drunk driving yesterday, his lawyer said.

Sunil Kumar Bhardwaj, 29, appeared in New Plymouth District Court on a charge of driving with excess blood alcohol and one of careless use of a motor vehicle.

Defence lawyer Julian Hannam told Judge Allan Roberts Bhardwaj had had a few drinks while in Auckland farewelling his brother when he received a telephone call from his wife saying she was expecting their first child.

Bhardwaj had a sleep and a bite to eat and got in his car and headed home, he said.

"It's a sad example of some very good news ending up with a bad result."

Hannam said Bhardwaj had not been intending to drive and had no previous convictions.

"He was caught out by events."

The police summary of facts states Bhardwaj lost control of his car on State Highway 3, just south of Te Kuiti, about 4.30pm on January 29.

"His vehicle veered to the left of the road on to the gravel and then slid sideways for approximately 50 metres before crossing the centre line and sliding for a further 100m before ending up on the left of the road on the grass verge."

Bhardwaj was found to have a blood alcohol level of 128 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, the legal limit is 80mg. He told police he had fallen asleep for just a moment.

The judge fined Bhardwaj $500 plus court costs of $130, ordered him to pay medical fees of $75 and analyst fees of $93 and disqualified him from driving for eight months.

Dennis Hohaia White was sentenced to 100 hours' community work for driving with excess blood alcohol.

White was stopped at 9.20pm in Frankley Rd, New Plymouth, and was found to have a blood alcohol level of 128 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, the legal limit is 80mg.

He told police he had had two or three beers.

Defence lawyer Jo Woodcock said White was a self-employed painter and had been shouted a few beers after work and he believed he was OK to drive.

White had two previous convictions for drunk driving.

The judge disqualified White from driving for 12 months and one day and said he would have to apply for a zero alcohol licence, which would last for three years, after the disqualification ended.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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