Recidivist drink-driver sentenced to jail, again

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 05:00 26/03/2014

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One of New Zealand's worst recidivist drink-drivers has been jailed, again.

Waikato man Darren Corey Newport, 47, was sentenced today in the Hamilton District Court for his 18th drink-driving conviction and 28th driving while disqualified/suspended conviction.

Newport, of Hamilton, is one of four other Kiwi men convicted of drink driving 18 times.

However, it's Eastern Bay of Plenty man Richard Rowe who tops the list with 21 drink-driving convictions and 28 for driving while disqualified.

Wellington's Alcohol and Drug Assessment and Counselling clinical manager Roger Brooking said no amount of jail time would fix the problems of a recidivist drink driver, saying they needed to be admitted into a proper drink driving rehabilitative programme.

"He's [Newport] clearly an alcoholic, there's no doubt huge issues from his childhood and clearly none of those have been addressed."

Mr Brooking said an alcohol interlock device - which demobilises a vehicle if the driver has alcohol on his breath - could have been issued by the judge, but accepted it was a costly process.

Judge Philip Connell yesterday jailed Newport, via audio visual link, for two years and five months and disqualified him from driving for three years.

Newport's lawyer, Russell Boot, told Judge Connell his client was under no illusions that he would be heading back behind bars, after clocking up back-to-back convictions.

Newport - a grandfather of five - was stopped by police in Te Rapa Rd, Hamilton, during a routine checkpoint on January 11.

Newport, who has more than 100 convictions in total, blew 979 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, more than double the legal adult limit of 400mcg.

Newport was back behind the wheel and stopped by police about 10.15pm on January 30. He then ran from the car, to a house, where he opened a beer and began drinking it. He returned a level of 757mcg.

Judge Connell questioned whether some misguided attempt to beat the breath-alcohol test had been made.

Judge Connell went through Newport's list of drink-driving convictions which included levels between 700mcg and 1200mcg.

Newport first blew 950mcg in 1986, similar to his last conviction in 2010 of 931mcg.

Judge Connell told Newport he had a drinking problem.

"These levels reflect the fact that you are an alcoholic."

He was disturbed to find that Newport had been subjected to all rehabilitative measures in prison, but he kept on offending, putting the community at risk.

Boot submitted to Judge Connell that although his client had a poor history, there had never been any driver error or crashes so he could keep the sentence on the lighter side. 

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- Waikato Times

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