The High Court has thrown out an appeal by a recidivist Northland drink-driver that his prison term be substituted with home detention so his whanau could keep a close eye on him.

Benjamin Te Pere Brown, 40, was sentenced by the Whangarei District Court in September to 18 months' imprisonment for his 11th drink-driving conviction with a reading of 1121 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath or more than four times the legal limit of 250mcg for those over 20.

What is now proposed is too little, too late, in my view.

Brown was twice previously sent to jail for drink-driving - in 2002 and 2009 - when the breath alcohol levels were more than 1000mcg.

In the most recent incident, he was pulled over for speeding along SH1 in Moerewa on June 11.


In sentencing him, Judge John McDonald said Brown was caught speeding while grossly intoxicated and it was fortunate a police car pulled him over.

Brown wanted to be sentenced to home detention and presented a plan under which his whanau and Probation would keep a close eye on him.

However, Judge McDonald said he must impose a sentence that was consistent with other sentences in order to deter drink-drivers.

"The grief and anguish of innocent people who are killed or injured on our road by drunk drivers is well known. You have continually chosen to drink and drive. What is now proposed is too little, too late, in my view," Judge McDonald said.

Brown appealed against his sentence to the High Court which ruled a prison term was the only sentence Judge McDonald could arrive at.

Justice John Fogarty said were it a first, second or even a third drink-driving conviction, he would have had enough discretion under the law to substitute the prison sentence with home detention.

"I hope that upon Benjamin Brown's release, he takes up the offer from his whanau to be wrapped in his whanau's care and to accept the guidance of his whanau, help from the whanau to beat what is clearly a serious drinking problem and that can only be to Mr Benjamin Brown and to the community's betterment should that happen," Justice Fogarty said.