False details bring jail time for woman

By Mike Dinsdale

A woman has landed in jail after she gave false details to Whangarei police after she was found to be driving under the influence of methamphetamine.

Regina Waiata Smith, 35, unemployed, appeared in court for sentencing on charges of driving under the influence of a drug and giving false details after she was stopped on Denby Crescent, Tikipunga, at 7.45pm on May 30.

The police summary of facts presented to the court said when spoken to Smith, told police she was named Gloria Smith, had a date of birth of September 29, 1980 and said she was 27.

However, as the date of birth did not match the age, further enquiries were made and it was discovered that Gloria Smith had a warrant out for her arrest and Regina Smith was taken to the Whangarei police station for processing and further checks to her identity.

Regina Smith later admitted giving false details to police and that she had smoked cannabis before driving. Her eyes were bloodshot and she exhibited signs of being impaired by drugs. A compulsory impairment test was undertaken and a subsequent blood test revealed the presence of methamphetamine.

She was sentenced to four months' in jail and disqualified from driving for 12 months and one day.

Also, Whangarei man Terry Burkhardt, was sentenced for driving under the influence of tetrahydrocannabinol (the active ingredient in cannabis) after being stopped on Western Hills Drive, on July 26.

Burkhardt was disqualified from driving for six months and ordered to pay $771 in fees.

Northland's top traffic cop, Inspector Murray Hodson, said earlier that police had been putting a focus on drug-impaired drivers, with more than 90 per cent of those tested found to have drugs in their system.

"That's a very high number and a real concern," he said.

While most of the arrested Northland drivers were under the influence of cannabis, many had used methamphetamine.

Police can only drug-test drivers if they believe they are under the influence. The impairment test entails the driver having an eye assessment, followed by a walk and turn, and one-leg stand test.

Drivers who fail the test must undergo a blood test.

- Northern Advocate

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