Judge 'appalled' by drink-driving tourists

Last updated 05:00 08/01/2013

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A Queenstown judge is appalled by the number of overseas tourists "totally inebriated" and breaking basic New Zealand law by drink-driving.

Judge Kevin Phillips yesterday said tourists and those in New Zealand on working visas were committing a serious offence when they drove under the influence.

Of the nine people who appeared in Queenstown District Court yesterday charged with drink-driving, six were from overseas. Most of those sentenced were ordered to pay their fines immediately or face a jail sentence of between 14 and 30 days.

Cahal Benjamin David Ranson, 25, bricklayer of England, was fined $950 and disqualified from driving for eight months for recording a breath alcohol level of 909mcg on January 4.

Ranson drove into Queenstown after having a party at his house in Bowen St before turning back after realising he should not be driving.

However, on his way back to his house he crashed into a parked car. The judge said the behaviour was "totally inexcusable".

"He is a guest in our country, breaking our rules.

"If I had the means I would send him home today."

The judge ordered Ranson to pay $500 and settle the balance in 30 days or face a jail term.

Susie Suptille, 30, cleaner, of France, was remanded without plea until January 28 charged with dangerous driving, refusing to accompany police and recording a breath alcohol level of 765mcg on December 31.

Suptille crashed into a taxi after driving on the wrong side of the road and at the time of her arrest she blamed police for the crash.

The judge said he was "very unimpressed" with Suptille and her arrogance.

Hugo Joseph Platt, 54, of Britain, was fined $700 and disqualified from driving for six months for recording 697mcg on January 4.

Irishman James Richard Fitzgerald, 20, of Balfour, was fined $600 and disqualified from driving for six months for recording 639mcg in Queenstown on January 1.

Fitzgerald had slept in his car and was pulled over by police at 8.40am after attempting to drive home.

Clement Raymond Simon Dumaz, 27, French national, of Cromwell, was remanded until January 14 for sentencing, 588mcg, in Queenstown on January 1. The judge warned Dumaz to bring the funds to pay a fine at sentencing or face jail.

Steve Proimos, 28, of Australia, was fined $500 and disqualified from driving for six months, 492mcg, on January 4.

Charlotte Elizabeth Hansen Ritchie, 23, conference co-ordinator, was fined $875 and disqualified from driving for eight months, 875mcg, on December 14. Ritchie was pulled over in Shotover St at 3.20am after she was seen driving without lights on and swerving.

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Isabella Rose Harris, 21, cafe worker, of Wanaka, was fined $575 and disqualified from driving for six months, 560mcg, in Wanaka on January 1.

Michael John Pawson, 26, butcher, of Wanaka, fined $450 and disqualified from driving for six months, 463mcg, December 16.

- The Press

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