Doctor accused of fleeing police denied court transfer

By Sandra Conchie of the Bay of Plenty Times -
Dr Mustafa Sabanli leaves Tauranga Courthouse dressed in a mask after pleading guilty to drink driving charges. Photo / Joel Ford
Dr Mustafa Sabanli leaves Tauranga Courthouse dressed in a mask after pleading guilty to drink driving charges. Photo / Joel Ford

A Tauranga doctor caught driving grossly drunk after fleeing from police and crashing into a building has failed in his bid to have his sentencing transferred to Auckland.

Last week Mustafa Sabanli, 30, pleaded guilty in Tauranga District Court to driving with excess breath alcohol, driving in a dangerous manner, failing to stop for police and failing to remain stopped.

He was bailed pending sentencing in the same court on August 5.

Sabanli was caught driving with an excess breath alcohol of 924 micrograms - well over double the adult legal limit of 400mcgs - in the early hours of June 17, after motorists called police after seeing him driving erratically on Takitumu Drive.

The former Tauranga Hospital doctor has since resigned from his position.

In Tauranga District Court today, Sabanli's lawyer Kelly Hymers urged Judge Thomas Ingram to transfer her client's sentencing to North Shore District Court.

Ms Hymers said it made sense as Sabanli was currently undertaking a rehabilitation programme at a Mount Wellington hospital and he was likely to be there for 4-6 weeks, and upon discharge would be living in Mairangi Bay with his mother, and continue his treatment as an out-patient.

Sabanli, who is barred from driving a motor vehicle as one of his bail conditions, would have to rely on family or friends to bring him to Tauranga, she said.

Judge Ingram said he was "absolutely not persuaded'' to grant the transfer application, as the law provides that final disposition should occur in the same location where the offending took place.

"I see no reason to change that, and the application for transfer is refused,'' the judge said.

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