Enjoying pre-Christmas drinks landed five people in Dannevirke District Court on drink-driving charges.

John Adrian Nicholson, 46, had been at a Christmas break-up function, the court was told.

Judge Gerard Lynch said Nicholson was stopped shortly before midnight after he was seen driving partially on the footpath.

"You returned a staggering breath-alcohol reading of 1070. This was a gross error of judgement. You put yourself and others at risk of harm."


Judge Lynch told Nicholson as a father of three he should have been thinking about his children.

"To your credit you have had no previous convictions in the last quarter of a century. But on this occasion you were a family man who has dropped the ball."

Judge Lynch said ordinarily with such a high reading an interlock device would be ordered. But Nicholson's licence had expired in 2000 so he was ineligible for this.

"However, even if you did qualify for an interlock device you wouldn't seek one because of the cost of it."

The court was told the cost of an interlock device was $2800.

In the meantime Judge Lynch said he would impose a finite sentence of disqualification.

He said he was also obliged to impose a zero alcohol licence that would take effect for three years.

Nicholson was fined $950 and disqualified from driving for eight months.


Nicholas John Appleton, 21, was also caught driving on December 21 with a breath-alcohol level of 837.

He was driving on High St and was seen not wearing a seatbelt.

Judge Lynch disqualified Appleton from driving for 28 days after which he must apply for an interlock device.

He was fined $250 and ordered to pay $130 court costs.

Also caught drink driving on December 21 was Jacqueline Patricia Henderson, 43. She recorded a breath-alcohol level of 703.

Judge Lynch said as soon as Henderson sat in the driver's seat she knew she shouldn't have driven.

He fined her $650 and $30 court costs and disqualified her from driving for the minimum period of six months.

A trip to the bottle store on November 29 landed Finesse Ruth Nikora in court for drink-driving.

Nikora, 26, had a breath-alcohol level of 762.

Judge Lynch said he would imagine it would be the first and last time Nikora would be in court.

He said that as a mother she needed to think about the impact on her family if she had ploughed into a parked car or a lamppost.

Nikora was fined $700, $130 court costs and disqualified from driving for six months.

Michael Craig Tapa, 33, had made an error of judgement in deciding to drive after drinking.

He recorded a level of 578 and was fined $525, $130 court costs and disqualified from driving for six months.

Also in court on driving charges was Matene McDonald Harrison, 42, who was appearing for sentence on two charges of driving with excess breath-alcohol for a third or subsequent conviction and two of driving while disqualified for a third or subsequent conviction.

Judge Lynch said one offence was in November 2018 when he recorded a reading of 1216. Another occurred in June 2019 when he recorded 791.

He noted that Harrison had five previous convictions for drink-driving but said there was a lot of daylight between those convictions and the latest ones.

He said Harrison had taken part in a MASH Trust programme and had only to attend a term of residential rehabilitation to complete it.

"All you need to focus on now is your family. Your children don't need a dad who is going to jail or who injures or kills himself," Judge Lynch said.

"The easiest thing would be to send you to jail but I can't overlook rehabilitation for a person who is committed to changing and I can step back from a jail sentence."

Harrison was sentenced to 10 months and two weeks' home detention. He was disqualified from driving for a year and a day on each of the charges.

"You need to keep your eye on the end game. If you get another drink-driving or disqualified driving conviction everything comes to a halt."