A professional Rotorua mountain biker has been disqualified from driving and fined after driving while more than four times over the legal limit.
Keegan Wright, 23, was disqualified from driving for 28 days and ordered to pay $630 by Judge Hollister-Jones in the Rotorua District Court today after previously pleading guilty to a charge of drink driving.
Judge Hollister-Jones said it was a "serious example" of drink driving due to the high amount of alcohol on Wright's breath.
However, the judge was asked by Wright's lawyer Bill Lawson to take into account the effect a conviction would have on the defendant's current sponsorship contracts and future opportunities, as well as overseas travel.
Lawson argued that the consequences of a conviction would outweigh the incident itself for a "professional athlete" such as Wright.
He described the offending as "moderate" and that there had been no "negative effects" from the incident.
However, he said it was a "fall from the grace" for the athlete.
He said it was something that was "not likely to happen again" and Wright had sought counselling after he was aware of what he had done.
A number of factors, including his ride home falling through, safety concerns, a lack of food at the place he was at that night, led to this "unusual decision", he said.
Wright blew a reading of 1132 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath in December, a police summary of facts supplied to the Rotorua Daily Post stated.
The legal limit was 250 micrograms.
Wright had raced at an elite level on mountain bike circuits, both locally and internationally, for a number of years.
He had competed in both the Enduro World Series and Crankworx circuits.
About 2.30am on December 8, Wright was seen swerving from his lane into oncoming traffic while driving east on Te Ngae Rd, it stated.
A police officer coming the other way saw this and Wright was stopped for a compulsory breath test.
The test came back with a reading of 1132 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.
Wright told police that he had wanted to drive his friend home to make sure he was safe.
He had not previously appeared before the court.