French driver's 'arrogance' draws judge's ire

A French tourist who allegedly attempted to blame police after being caught drink-driving on January 1 has been remanded without plea until January 28 to apply for legal aid.

Susie Suptille (30), a cleaner, failed to appear in the Queenstown District Court before Judge Kevin Phillips yesterday morning, resulting in a warrant for her arrest being issued.

However, after a morning adjournment Suptille presented herself at the court, saying she had ''slept in'' after working late on Sunday night.

The French national faces three charges - dangerous driving, drink-driving with a breath-alcohol level of 765mcg, and refusing to accompany an enforcement officer without delay - after crashing into an oncoming taxi on January 1.

Duty solicitor Steve Turner sought a remand for Suptille to make the legal-aid application, given the ''number of aggravating factors''.

Following her arrest, Senior Constable Chris Blackford told the Otago Daily Times Suptille was driving on the wrong side of the road at 4.40am on January 1, and collided head-on with the taxi.

No-one was injured.

It was alleged following the incident Suptille claimed to be adhering to French road rules and since New Zealand authorities had permitted her to drive, they should take some responsibility.

In court yesterday, Judge Phillips said he was ''not impressed by this woman at all'', particularly given the media publicity over her comment regarding ''whose fault it was''.

''It appears to me there's an attitude of arrogance and, again, an inability to understand the basic New Zealand law.''

Judge Phillips cancelled her warrant and granted the remand, with police in possession of her passport.

Suptille was one of nine drink-drivers dealt with by Judge Phillips yesterday, of whom six were foreign nationals.

It is arrogance

I would have thought that if this woman's driving was not up to par, then attempting to drive 'P.I.C' would have been the last thing she should have contemplated doing. Also the ratio of 'foreign nationals' also appearing for allegedly driving in that state, measured against nine drink driving appearances in total, should be food for thought. I think that ratio is of far more significance overall than Mlle Suptille's outburst.

Dont mention French Intelligence

Ah, speedfreak, they were hoping you wouldn't mention that late unpleasantness.

Deportation sounds good

Why should NZ taxpayers pay for her legal aid? Deportation sounds good to me. Just asking, have we been reimbursed for the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior?

Legal aid

Since when are tourists able to receive legal aid? Any tourist should be paying for their own legal representation if they choose to be represented.

Missed point

No-one is impressed by a drunk driver, but this was not the first time a confused Euro has driven on the wrong side. If Mme Suptille had no basic understanding of NZ driving law, a judicial comment on how to train foreigners in driver safety would have been helpful.