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Repeat drink-driver sent to jail for year

A man with an “appalling record” of driving-related offences was sent to prison for a year by Judge Robert Spear. When he does eventually drive again he will be subject to a zero-alcohol licence.

Tuhourangi Mihinui Te Pairi, 33, appeared in Gisborne District Court for sentencing on three charges — driving with excess breath- alcohol with a reading of 1091 mcgs, driving while disqualified and failure to stop for police

His counsel Jackie van Schalkwyk said there were two aggravating features to the offending — the high reading and close proximity to a previous conviction.

She said Te Pairi was indefinitely disqualified from driving starting on January 12 (the day before his appearance this week), because of his two drink-driving convictions within a five year period. Both featured very high breath alcohol limits.

She sought an end sentence of home detention for her client.

Judge Robert Spear noted Te Pairi had six previous convictions for driving-related offences and his last sentence was community supervision with driving disqualification on May 7, 2021.

Miss Schalkwyk said there were several factors that had changed for her client since the time of the offending. He was now motivated to address alcohol addiction and accept whānau support. He had also started the rehabilitation process.

Te Pairi was a single father on a benefit and had care of his children. He did not have a vehicle registered under his own name or a vehicle readily available to him.

The court was told, at about 2.30pm on August 20, 2021, police attempted to stop Te Pairi because he was not wearing a seatbelt. He did not stop for the police car's flashing red and blue lights. After some distance, he stopped and ran off on foot.

When police caught him his breath-alcohol reading was taken. It was 1091 mcgs, two-and-a-half times the legal limit.

At the time of the offending, Te Pairi was under supervision (a previous sentence on May 7, 2021) and had a zero alcohol licence.

Te Pairi had an appalling record of drink-driving offences dating back to 2011, Judge Spear said. Penalties imposed in the past had been to assist him but just three months after a previous sentencing, Te Pairi had re-offended with a much higher alcohol reading during broad daylight, which meant he was drinking heavily during the day.

There was a time when the court had to look at the safety of the public rather than personal circumstances. Te Pairi had had wake-up calls time and time again.

“I am afraid unless you get a shock, you will kill someone in future”, the judge said.

He sentenced Te Pairi to 12 months imprisonment for drink-driving and driving while disqualified charges.

Te Pairi was further disqualified from driving for six months, from February 12, 2023, for failure to stop for police.

When he is able to get a driving licence again, he will be issued a three-year zero alcohol licence.

He will also have special conditions for six months on release — he will need to take alcohol counselling and programmes as directed by the Probation Service.