A Queenstown marriage celebrant has vowed in court he has now "broken up with alcohol" following his latest appearance on a driving charge.
Richard Gibson delivered an eloquent defence when he appeared in the Nelson District Court today, vowing to correct his ways after he was caught driving while banned.
He was convicted and disqualified from driving for a further six months, just days before a current six-month disqualification was due to expire. Gibson was disqualified from driving in October last year, when convicted on a number of driving charges.
He was stopped for an alcohol and licence check while driving in Wānaka last December, and it was discovered that he was behind the wheel illegally.
Gibson, representing himself, offered Community Magistrate Brigid Corcoran a list of possible options for how he might be sentenced.
He was reluctant to go down the path of community work, out of concern it would place him with people not helpful to his recovery.
"I am now in a place where I am choosy who I let into my life, and community service would mean I'd be rubbing shoulders with people who are - no disrespect, undesirable to the journey I'm now on."
Gibson, who after admitting the most recent charge of driving while disqualified, told Corcoran he had lost his job as a manager at a property development firm, was unable to operate in his trade as a flooring contractor, had been forced to sell his house, and was unable to continue as a licensed wedding celebrant as a consequence of his alcohol consumption.
He had since taken it upon himself to engage with drug and alcohol support services, plus counselling and psychotherapy, which he said had been "life changing".
"I have now broken up with alcohol," he told the court. "I have set myself up and I'm continuing this journey of self-righting."
Gibson has also returned to university study with the aim of finishing a degree, while unable to work as a flooring contractor.
He had hoped for leniency in sentencing, so he might be able to get back to work sooner.
Corcoran said she appreciated what he was saying, and his efforts to get himself back on track.
She suggested an alternative to community work might be an agency placement in Nelson, which probation supported.
Gibson, who was keen to return to Queenstown, then tested his knowledge of the law by asking Corcoran if she would consider that a fine, and his attending counselling and psychotherapy might constitute a community-based sentence.
Corcoran was quick to say, "no", but pointed out Gibson appeared "well versed" in what was required.
Police prosecution then sought time for a closer evaluation of Gibson's file, as it appeared there had been a number of driving offences in Queenstown, but Gibson said he wanted the matter resolved today.
Corcoran said Gibson was on a focused trajectory, before convicting him and disqualifying him for a further six months from April 7, and fining him $300.