Matamata 'menace' drunk on Lake Karapiro

03:18, Oct 04 2013

A Matamata farmer who had several crashes and near misses while driving his boat drunk on Lake Karapiro has been sentenced to community work.

Matthew Dodd was convicted and sentenced to 100 hours' community work, nine months' supervision and ordered to undertake drug and alcohol counselling and a boat safety course in the Matamata District Court this week.

However, at sentencing Judge David Ruth said if he had the power to ban him from boating forever, he would.

Boats could be more lethal than cars and that Dodd was ''a menace'' who could have killed, Judge Ruth said.

Dodd was involved in a series of incidents that placed other people, including a two-year-old boy, in danger on December 28 and 29 last year.

He told a Waikato Regional Council honorary enforcement officer that he was having a weekend to himself and ''getting on the booze''.''


"He stated he had wanted to go away by himself to get away from the pressures of the farm and having two young children at home,'' the summary of facts said. 

He had several collisions and near misses with other boat users, wakeboarders and kayakers on the lake.

One incident involved him driving his 3.5 metre boat across the top of another vessel causing minor injury to its occupant. He also drove in the dark with no lights.

A police officer who was called to one of the incidents described Dodd as ''extremely intoxicated,'' the summary of facts said.

''He was unsteady on his feet, his face was flushed, he smelt of alcohol, and he slurred his words to the point that he was very difficult to understand. He had white spittle at the corner of his mouth, which appeared to have dried.''

A second police officer said: ''When questioned, Dodd was unable to provide any coherent explanation for his actions prior to the collision however I was able to establish he had been drinking beer, ready to mix drinks and a bottle of wine...''.

Dodd said he felt ''extreme guilt'' after the weekend bender.

''I'm very sorry to all directly involved and my family for my mistakes and I am grateful to God that no one was hurt,'' he told the Times.

'Have no fear, it will never happen again.''

He was taking medication for depression at the time and should not have been drinking.

He had also received a head injury a year earlier and was not meant to drink alcohol for two years after the accident.

Orders were also made for reparation to two parties for damages to two boats.