Banned for third time after drinking

A Masterton man's claim that he was not properly breath-tested has failed to stop him being convicted for drink-driving for a third time.

William Cambridge Aspinall denied driving with excess breath alcohol, obstructing police and possession of cannabis when he appeared in Masterton District Court on Wednesday.

The court was told that on May 12 Aspinall was driving a car that ran into the back of another car stopped at the intersection of Colombo and Te Ore Ore Rds.

The driver of the car he hit, Katie O'Hara, gave evidence in court that she smelled alcohol on Aspinall's breath after the crash and that he was unsteady on his feet.

Ms O'Hara said although she was talking to a police officer at the time and not watching Aspinall closely, she did remember him being breath-tested.

Masterton police constable Dana Johanson said she was the first officer to arrive on the scene and she gave Aspinall a roadside breath test, which showed he had a breath alcohol reading of more than 400mcg.

Due to that reading she told Aspinall that he had to accompany her to the police station for a breath test.

Senior constable Tony Matheson said while he was in the process of removing the keys from Aspinall's car ignition, he noticed a small, plastic pill container on the passenger seat.

"I saw it contained plant material that I thought was cannabis."

Mr Matheson said he then told Aspinall not to go into the car and to leave the pill bottle where it was.

Despite that, Aspinall took the pill bottle from the car, Mr Matheson said.

Aspinall's lawyer, Jock Blathwayt, said his client was not breath-tested on the side of the road, as he was not asked to by police.

He also denied the resisting charge, Mr Blathwayt said, because although Mr Matheson had told Aspinall not to go back to his car, Ms Johanson had said he could go to his car to get his reading glasses.

Mr Blathwayt conceded that, during cross-examination by Sergeant Jodie Lawrence, Aspinall admitted the cannabis was his.

Judge Michael Behrens said given that two witnesses testified Aspinall was breath-tested by the side of the road, he found him guilty of drink-driving. Aspinall was sentenced to 80 hours' community work, disqualified from driving for eight months and ordered to pay witness fees of $25.

On the cannabis charge he was convicted and discharged.

Aspinall was found not guilty of obstruction due to conflicting instructions given to him by police as to whether he could or could not retrieve something from his car.


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