Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

Driver caught drink driving twice in two hours

George Anderson in court today. Photo / APNZ
George Anderson in court today. Photo / APNZ

A man caught drink driving twice within two hours - both times at more than triple the legal limit - was described as a "danger to the community" and sentenced to home detention today.

The court also heard George Norman Anderson, 40, had previously been court martialled from the navy for driving a vessel while drunk.

Anderson appeared in the Wellington District Court for sentencing on two counts of driving with an excess breath alcohol limit, driving while suspended and driving in a dangerous manner. He had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges.

Judge Bill Hastings said the facts of the case made for "harrowing reading".

Motorists reported seeing Anderson driving south on the Wellington motorway at about 30 to 40km/h and swerving across three lanes on May 12, just before 3pm.

He hit the median barrier three to four times and drivers around him turned on their hazard lights to warn others.

Anderson then drove through the Terrace Tunnel, slowing to about 20km/h and swerving into the opposite lane, Judge Hastings said.

He stopped just after the tunnel in a layby, where concerned drivers blocked him in until police arrived.

A test showed he had 1361 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

"That is well over three times the legal limit [of 400mcg per litre of breath]", Judge Hastings said.

Police immediately suspended Anderson's licence and confiscated his car keys.

However, about 5pm, Anderson retrieved a second set of keys from a family member, returned to his car and continued driving erratically.

Drivers again alerted police and blocked him in when he stopped his car.

A second test found he was still more then three times over the limit, with a reading of 1325mcg per litre of breath.

Judge Hastings said Anderson had two previous drink driving convictions, in 2005 and 2012.

He had also been court martialled when he drove a navy vessel drunk in 2010, he said.

"You have a drinking problem. You've lost your job as a result of this [latest] offending," he said.

"You are a danger to the community when you drive."

On one of the excess breath alcohol charges, Judge Hastings sentenced Anderson to five months home detention.

He was disqualified from driving indefinitely, but if he were to ever reapply for a licence, it had to have a special condition of zero alcohol.

Following the home detention period, the judge imposed a number of conditions including attending addiction courses and AA meetings.

He was also sentenced to 100 hours community work, "so you can give back to the community and so you can get out out of the house", Judge Hastings said.

He adjourned the other excess breath alcohol sentence until Anderson had completed his home detention sentence in order to review how rehabilitation was going.

If Anderson had met all requirements, his release conditions could be transferred to a period of intensive supervision, allowing the court to monitor his behaviour.

"This will ensure that the public are protected from your drink driving."

Anderson was due to reappear on sentencing for the second charge in September.

- APNZ

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