Tobacco ruse too easy to spot

A recidivist drink driver who tried to fool a breath testing machine by filling his mouth with loose tobacco is serving community work after his ruse failed.

Hautonga Steven KOROHEKE, 45, appeared in Whangarei District Court for sentencing on a charge of driving with breath alcohol for a third or subsequent time after he was stopped on Ngunguru Rd, at 8.34pm on November 26.

Police were alerted to his Mazda as he was driving without headlights on and when he was stopped officers noticed signs of recent alcohol consumption.

The police summary of facts said Koroheke was taken to a police vehicle to undergo a breath test, but while sitting in the back of the car he filled his mouth with loose tobacco in an attempt to fool the breath testing machine.

His efforts failed and he recorded a level of 719 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 400mcg.

Koroheke was sentenced to 200 hours' community work, nine months' supervision, and disqualified from driving for 12 months and one day for a third drink driving conviction.

Northland has some of the highest rates of drink-driving in the country, particularly repeat offenders, and the Northern Advocate is publishing its "name-and-shame" list of all people convicted of drink driving offences in the region.

- Northern Advocate

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