A judge has blasted an Opotiki woman who drove drunk with a baby on her lap and two other unrestrained children in the car.
Judge John Clapham said it was "difficult to imagine a worse case of driving" when he sentenced Tinylee Alvina Martin, 24, in Opotiki District Court yesterday. She had pleaded guilty to charges of driving while disqualified and excess breath alcohol after being stopped by police at 9.30am on June 15 in Buchanan St. The police then discovered the unrestrained children.
She had a breath alcohol level of 780 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath - nearly twice the legal limit of 400.
She was sentenced to 10 months' home detention on the condition she completed a residential rehabilitation programme in Rotorua. The judge said the circumstances around the offending were very frightening.
“It's difficult to imagine a worse case of driving. A minor impact, perhaps even hard braking could have caused loss of life,” he said.
“These children have had a very raw chance in life, with both parents indulging heavily in alcohol use, these actions showed scant regard for the children.”
He urged the children's families, who supported Martin in court, to “step up and be heard and protect these children”.
It was Martin's second excess breath alcohol charge and eighth of driving while disqualified and she had served two terms in prison.
Defence counsel Jonathan Kay said the incident had meant Child, Youth and Family involvement and the children had been taken from the defendant's care. His client acknowledged she had a problem with alcohol.
Judge Clapham said a sentence of imprisonment would “frustrate the process” of her entering the programme.
A condition of the sentence was also not to consume alcohol or non-prescription drugs.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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