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Refusal to be tested ‘not helping’

A recidivist drink-driver's tactic of refusing to undergo testing for alcohol, was not helping his situation in court, Judge Warren Cathcart told him.

The law was designed to capture people who tried to do that and those who refused testing were automatically deemed to have been driving with high alcohol levels, the judge said.

Reweti Ruka Waikari, 50, pleaded guilty to two counts of refusing to give blood specimens and two counts of driving while disqualified. Each were third or subsequent offences — his 16th and 17th alcohol-impaired driving charges and his 13th and 14th disqualified driving or forbidden driving charges.

Waikari also admitted a breach of bail.

Counsel Alistair Clarke pointed to the 20-year gap in Waikari's offending ahead of this spate.

Waikari had entrenched issues with alcohol and would benefit from a rehabilitative sentence combining community detention, community work, and intensive superivision, Mr Clarke said.

But Judge Cathcart said he was concerned about the return of Waikari's offending. A pre-sentence report assessed Waikari's likelihood of reoffending, due to his recidivism, as high. It put his potential level of harm to others as medium to high. The writer stated Waikari had a sense of entitlement about his use of alcohol.

Calculating the sentence, the judge arrived at a notional prison term of 15 months. Taking into account the long gap in Waikari's offending, the judge converted it to seven-and-a-half months home detention. That would enable Waikari to benefit from counselling and other programmes, the judge said.