A Hastings lawyer with three drink-driving convictions has been fined $1200 and has lost her licence for 9 months.
Sacha Maria Beacham appeared for sentence at the Auckland District Court today.
She had been due to be sentenced last month but there was no sign of the 39-year-old or her barrister, Patrick Winkler.
Lawyer Clare Watkins instead appeared for Beacham and asked for an adjournment so defence could prepare an opposition to an in-court camera application by APN media.
She also asked for Beacham to be excused.
Judge Christopher Field was not impressed.
"No, she should be here, surely," he said.
Ms Watkins said it was not Mr Winkler's fault that he had received the media application only this week.
APN journalists filed the application with the court on June 23.
Judge Field said Mr Winkler had "no business" in telling his client that she did not have to be in court.
Crown prosecutor Eddie Iosefa said the police hadn't been told that Beacham would not be attending.
Judge Field said the case had been transferred to Auckland because there were "difficulties" with Ms Beacham appearing before a Hastings judge and the local probation officer.
Beacham has been convicted of drink-driving three times and could have faced jail.
Her latest conviction comes after an early morning incident in Hastings at the beginning of the year.
The charge was laid after a police officer, concerned about the way her 2000 S-Type Jaguar was being driven, pulled her over in St Georges Rd, just after 2.35am on January 15.
She underwent breath testing and recorded 561mcg, well over the legal
limit of 400mcg.
Beacham had previously been convicted in 2002 of driving with an excess blood-alcohol level of 112mg of blood, and in 2007 of driving with an excess breath-alcohol level of 703mcg.
The maximum penalty for an aggravated drink-driving conviction (three convictions or more) is a prison term up to two years or a fine of $6000.
She also faced a minimum one-year disqualification from driving, and the possible forfeiture of her car. In earlier reports, New Zealand Law Society acting general manager (regulatory) Mary Olivier said a third drink-driving charge "would certainly be something the society would probably refer to its fitness-for-practice committee".
Beacham, who appeared regularly as a defence lawyer in the Hastings District Court, withdrew from her role as duty solicitor after her third conviction in May, and has not received any new cases from Legal Aid Services.
Since being admitted to the bar in 2005, she has earned $73,161 from Legal Aid Services.
Beacham's Hastings practice, Beacham Law, is one of 15 nominees for the EIT Excellence in Professional Services Award, as part of the Hastings City Business Awards.