A drink driver with nine previous convictions was yesterday
sentenced in the Oamaru District Court to 15 months' jail
after being caught twice in three days with blood-alcohol
levels almost four times the legal limit.
Warwick Bruce Couchman (60), beneficiary, of Hampden, was
also driving while disqualified for the eighth and ninth time
on November 20 and 22.
On November 20, Couchman committed his 10th drink-driving
offence, with a blood-alcohol level of 1550mcg, and his 11th
was on November 22, with 1530mcg. He had been driving in
Hampden to get more alcohol.
Judge Joanna Maze described Couchman as an ''appalling'' and
''chronic'' alcoholic, his life ''blighted'' by the disease.
He was a recidivist drink driver and disqualified driver, his
last offence being in 2008, she said. Each time, he had high
blood-alcohol readings, police records showing many previous
convictions more than 1000mcg.
In addition to the jail sentence, Couchman was disqualified
from driving indefinitely, with a minimum period of one year
and one day. Once his disqualification ended, he was
authorised to apply for a zero-alcohol driver's licence for
The Nissan car he was driving was confiscated.
Judge Maze declined leave for Couchman to apply for home
detention in place of the jail term, because she did not
think he could control his disease and believed he would
again put the community at risk.
The police summary said that, after the first offence,
Couchman said he could not be bothered walking 250m to the
shop to buy a cask of wine.
Couchman was warned not to drive and advised of the
consequences if caught.
After the second offence, when told by police he was driving
while disqualified again, Couchman told police ''you got
On that occasion, Couchman said he thought the local police
constable was on a day off.