Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Auckland lawyer fined over drink-driving incident

Gang "Richard" Chen, 40, appeared in Auckland District Court yesterday where he added convictions for careless driving and driving with excess blood alcohol to a growing list.
Gang "Richard" Chen, 40, appeared in Auckland District Court yesterday where he added convictions for careless driving and driving with excess blood alcohol to a growing list.

An Auckland lawyer with a chequered past has been stung with a bill after crashing into a parked car and smashing through a fence while drunk.

Gang "Richard" Chen, 40, appeared in Auckland District Court yesterday where he added convictions for careless driving and driving with excess blood alcohol to a growing list.

Community Magistrate Joanna Sihamu fined him $1000 over the incident and barred him from getting behind the wheel for six months.

The court heard it was his second drink-driving conviction and he had two previous for driving while disqualified.

It might not be the end of the lawyer's woes.

In July, Chen was given a "final warning" by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal and fined $5000 after not dealing with money given to him by a client in the correct way.

He had been paid $5000 for his services in the sale and purchase of a business -- money which he should have put in a trust.

Instead, Chen gave it to a friend who gave him the equivalent cash in Chinese currency, which he then kept in an office drawer.

The tribunal was comforted by the fact he swore an affidavit admitting his actions were unwise but it was "somewhat concerned" he had followed the same course of conduct six years earlier.

As well as the censure and fine, the tribunal ordered Chen to pay the Law Society its costs of $14,750 and $1587 tribunal costs.

The trip to court was also costly and could see him before the tribunal again.

Chen had to shell out $3600 to pay for damage to a parked BMW, which he hit in the early hours of October 10.

He was also ordered to pay $500 to cover the insurance excess of the owner of the fence which he destroyed on Mt Smart Rd.

A police alcohol breath test at the scene indicated Chen was over the limit but he opted for an evidential blood test.

It gave a reading of 162 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood -- more than three times the legal limit.

The 40-year-old completed alcohol counselling sessions and a defensive driving course in preparation for sentencing but was warned by Ms Sihamu that a third drink-driving conviction would see the penalties climb steeply.

Chen did not respond to requests for comment.

- NZ Herald

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