A Hawke's Bay doctor will continue practising despite being caught drink-driving for the third time, at more than five times the legal limit.

Dr Ian Ross McDonald, 55, appeared in the Napier District Court for sentencing this morning after pleading guilty to drink-driving for a third time earlier this year.

McDonald, who works at City Medical, was stopped at about 10.30pm on Saturday, November 18 last year while driving a Mercedes in the Pak'n Save car park off Station St in Napier.

He showed signs of recent alcohol intake when spoken to and in a subsequent breath test blew a reading of 1352 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.


The limit is 250mcg, having previously been 400mcg before it was lowered in December 2014.

In explanation the doctor told police, "I'm caught."

McDonald had twice previously been convicted of drink driving; first in May 2003 in the North Shore District Court and second in October 2015 in the Napier District Court.

The practising doctor, registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand, entered a guilty plea through his lawyer Russell Fairbrother QC at a brief appearance in January.

Today, Fairbrother told the court the car his client was driving was registered under his wife's name, who was overseas at the time of the offending with no control over the use of the vehicle.

However police prosecutor Malcolm Lochrie said the car had been registered under the defendant's name and was only changed to his wife's name after the offending.

Fairbrother asked that the vehicle not be confiscated and urged that a community-based sentence be adopted.

Judge Tony Adeane noted the defendant's previous offending gave "cause for concern" but accepted that in the circumstance there was no risk to the public as McDonald only intended to move the vehicle a short distance.

"The offending is obviously a source of considerable professional embarrassment for Mr McDonald.

"It may be that the stresses of his occupation are reflected in what has happened here but it is important some measure be taken for not just the safety of the general community but Mr McDonald himself."

He sentenced the defendant to three months' community detention and disqualified him from driving indefinitely. The police application to confiscate the car was declined.

City Medical practice manager Leanne Mandeno confirmed McDonald was still practicing at the medical centre but declined to comment further, saying the situation was still being reviewed.

The maximum penalty for drink driving a third time in two years' imprisonment or a $6000 fine.

For such offending the court must order the person to be disqualified from holding or obtaining a drivers licence for more than one year.