Man jailed after 18th drink-driving conviction

A 59-year-old South Otago man who racked up his 18th drink-driving conviction - and his 27th for driving while disqualified - was ''an enormous risk to the community'' and had no right to be driving, Judge Michael Crosbie said yesterday.

Gerald Peter Nelson, of Benhar, was refused bail after admitting the two charges when he appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

He was stopped while driving his Toyota Hilux in Union St, Milton, just before 8pm on November 16.

His breath-alcohol reading was 935mcg - more than double the legal limit - and he admitted having had ''a couple of beers'', police prosecutor Tim Hambleton told the court.

Nelson was also subject to two indefinite driving bans, both of which were still current and had been in force since 2004.

Nelson told police he knew he was unlicensed but said he had ''been to see you guys to see if I'm still disqualified - I wasn't sure''.

Counsel Noel Rayner asked for bail until sentencing. The defendant had not consumed alcohol since his arrest, he said. Judge Crosbie told Nelson he had no right to be driving at all, especially with a breath-alcohol level more than double the legal limit.

He had been sent to jail in 2008 for similar offending and, with his ''terrible history'', was a risk to himself and the public.

''There are no grounds on which I could possibly grant you bail,'' the judge said, remanding Nelson in custody for sentence on January 31.


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