Drink Driving nz

Drink Driving & Mansalughter

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Mr Price, I am going to ask you to remain seated. Towards the end of the remarks I make, we will reach a point where I need to ask you to stand and I will do that when we come to it. On 31st July 2020, I provided you with a sentence indication on charges of manslaughter and of driving with excess blood alcohol (third or subsequent offence). You accepted the sentence indication of five and a half years’ imprisonment and pleaded guilty. You are now before the Court for sentence.

[2] The sentence indication which I gave set out the facts of your offending and my analysis of the appropriate starting point in full, and I am directing that a copy of those sentence indication remarks be provided to the Department of Corrections so that the Department has those as well as these Sentencing Remarks when considering your position. However, it is appropriate that I repeat some of that detail in Court today given the importance of this sentencing occasion. I will then turn to consider the personal factors that may justify either an uplift or a discount to the starting point before, as I am required to do, reaching an end sentence.

Facts of the offending

[3] On Queen’s Birthday weekend in 2019, you were 41 years old. You were in Christchurch to compete in an indoor cricket tournament. In the afternoon of Sunday 2 June, you and your team mates went to a bar to socialise before the tournament prizegiving. You stayed at that bar for about one and a half hours. You drank three or four stubbies of beer.

[4] Your team mates offered you a lift to the prizegiving at Robbies Riccarton. They were concerned about how much you had had to drink. You refused the lift. You drove yourself to Robbies, arriving late and explaining that you had lost your way. You purchased beer from the bar. At that point you started to become obnoxious and loud, and you were refused further service from the bar.

[5] Your team had won a cup, which was then filled with a jug of beer bought by a team mate. All of the team, including you, drank from that cup. You then picked up a team mate’s second jug of beer and drank the entire litre in one go. You also drank three quarters of a large bottle of Heineken that a team mate did not want to finish. You tried to start a fight with someone while playing a game of pool with team mates.

[6] One of your team mates, worried about you, stayed with you for 45 minutes or thereabouts. When you said you needed to get home to Fairlie, he told you not to drive. Another team mate offered you a bed for the night and a lift back to your vehicle in the morning, which you declined. You left the bar, followed by a team mate. You fell over in the carpark and had to be helped up by him. Upon reaching your vehicle, you sat in the driver’s seat and smoked a substance out of a pipe. You then became aggressive, saying you needed to go home, at which point your team mate tried to take your car keys from you. Instead you started the vehicle, you reversed into a temporary cyclone fence, and drove out of the carpark, narrowly avoiding other parked cars.

[7] You drove through and out of the city. Near Sandy Knolls Road, you drove onto the opposite side of the road for a period. Tragically, at that point Tai Dixon was driving on her way to work at Christchurch Hospital, where she worked as a midwife. Your car was coming directly at her. She attempted to move her vehicle over to avoid the collision, but the two vehicles collided head on. Mrs Dixon died at the scene.

[8] Toxicology results showed your blood alcohol level was 183 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. You had both cannabis and methamphetamine in your system. The crash investigation report opined that you were drowsy and unaware you were travelling in the wrong lane until just before the collision.

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