Truckie taken off road after fourth drink-drive conviction

By Imran Ali

NO JAIL: Graeme Emery, logging truck driver, appears for sentencing on a drink-driving charge. PHOTO/JOHN STONE
NO JAIL: Graeme Emery, logging truck driver, appears for sentencing on a drink-driving charge. PHOTO/JOHN STONE

A Northland logging truck driver caught behind the wheel with nearly double the legal alcohol limit has been spared jail.

Graeme Steven Emery, 52, of Raumanga, this week was sentenced by the Whangarei District Court to four months' home detention on a charge of drink-driving.

Emery pleaded guilty in November last year.

It was his fourth conviction for drink-driving and in each of his first three convictions he recorded breath readings of more than 1000mcg.

The legal limit for drivers over 20 years of age is 400mcg.

His first conviction for drink-driving was in 1996 when he blew 1058mcg. In 2004 he recorded 1260mcg, then in 2009 he had 1122mcg of alcohol in his blood. In the latest test, his reading was 700mcg.

The police summary of facts said Emery was heading north on State Highway 1 at Mata about 5.15pm on September 21, when he was stopped by police for speeding.

The truck he was driving was piggy-backing its trailer.

He exhibited signs of recent alcohol intake and admitted to having had a couple of drinks at a friend's place after finishing his run for the day.

It is routine for police to breath-test all drivers stopped and Emery failed the roadside test.

He was taken to the Whangarei police station, where he was tested again and blew 700mcg.

Because of the level, his driver's licence was immediately suspended for 28 days. A friend had to collect the truck.

Emery's lawyer, Aaron Dooney, said there had been no driving fault except for speeding and that a pre-sentence report recommending home detention was a perfectly appropriate sentence.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barrie Iggo said that to reach a reading of 700mcg it would take more than the couple of drinks Emery claimed.

Judge Greg Davis said the aggravating features of Emery's offending were his high breath alcohol reading and the fact he was a professional driver.

The judge ordered Emery not to buy or consume alcohol and non-prescription drugs for the duration of his home detention.

Emery was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for one year and one day.

- Northern Advocate

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