Matthew Backhouse is a NZME. News Service journalist based in Auckland.

Drink-driving sportswoman named

Photo / APN
Photo / APN

A sportswoman convicted of drink-driving after police appealed against a decision to dismiss the charge will suffer "real consequences" in her career, her lawyer says.

Casey Anne Mullany, 29, was originally granted name suppression and discharged without conviction on the basis it could impede her ability to compete overseas.

But the polocrosse player, who has represented New Zealand internationally, was convicted in the Gisborne District Court this week after the police applied to the High Court to have the matter re-heard. Judge Tony Adeane disqualified Mullany from driving for six months and ruled that she could be named.

The decision was a good result for police, said Eastern District police spokeswoman Kris McGehan.

"Obviously we appealed the initial decision as it had been unfair, and we are pleased with the outcome."

Mullany's legal team has already appealed against the latest decision, which means her conviction and disqualification will be put on hold until the appeal is heard in the High Court.

Defence lawyer Zahir Mohamed who, with lawyer Marcia Insley, represented Mullany, said his client was not happy with the result.

"She is very disappointed and very upset," he said. "We are not giving it up."

If the conviction was upheld, it could affect her ability to compete in polocrosse overseas.

"It will have real consequences against her career. She won't be able to travel and she competes in this sport, and travel is very important to her, to get to Canada and those types of places."

Mr Mohamed said Mullany losing name suppression would not make much difference. "The main thing is the conviction - once you have a conviction against your name, you can't travel and all that."

Mullany, who has spent much of this year working in the UK, had returned to New Zealand especially for the case to be reheard.

She planned to return overseas, but if the appeal led to another rehearing, then she would have to come back to New Zealand.

In his decision, Judge Adeane said Mullany had suffered enough from the storm of publicity after the case made headlines.

Mullany was caught driving at twice the legal breath alcohol limit in November last year in Gisborne after an argument with her ex-fiance.

She admitted she had been "unlawful and stupid" but asked for a discharge without conviction because she was having a bad time after breaking up with her boyfriend.

Ms Insley had successfully argued for leniency, saying it was rare for a Maori woman from a poor upbringing to excel in sport. APNZ

- NZ Herald

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