Celebratory drinks come back to bite

To celebrate her first day at work, a Dunedin hairdresser went for drinks with her new colleagues.

The next morning, when Katrina Lee Hollander (47) drove in for her second day, she was stopped by police at more than six times the legal blood-alcohol limit.

Officers spotted her weaving around her lane on the motorway between Green Island and Dunedin, and pulled her over.

A blood test contained 323mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 50mg.

''That's one of the highest readings I've seen for a very long time,'' Judge Brian Callaghan said.

''I'm surprised when you woke up in the morning you could stand up, let alone drive a car.''

Defence counsel Jenny Beck explained the background to the incident, which said had left her client ''utterly ashamed''.

She told the court Hollander (also known as Guildford) went to Mitchell's Tavern in Caversham with her new workmates and had a couple of wines.

But the celebrations continued apace at home with friends.

''Matters got very convivial,'' Ms Beck said.

''She went to bed late, crucially, having had no food.''

When Hollander got behind the wheel the next day, she never considered she might be unfit to drive, Ms Beck said.

The drink-driving conviction was the defendant's fourth, the court heard, but it had been 11 years since her last one.

Hollander had previously believed her alcohol abuse was driven by an adverse relationship but now she realised she had to give up the grog, Ms Beck said.

Since being charged following the August 26 incident, the defendant had sought counselling and been to her doctor to be prescribed Antabuse.

Antabuse is prescribed to chronic alcoholics and produces an acute sensitivity to ethanol.

''This is a huge wake-up call for her,'' Ms Beck said.

Despite her faults, Hollander's employer wanted to keep her on.

Ms Beck said her busy work schedule might make community work difficult and suggested a fine would be an appropriate penalty.

Judge Callaghan disagreed and said the defendant was close to being incarcerated.

''That's just nonsense, quite frankly,'' he said.

Hollander was sentenced to four months' community detention, 120 hours' community work and nine months' supervision, disqualified from driving for one year and one day and ordered to pay $295 for blood analysis.

''I'm quite sure she will never ever reach this point in her life again,'' Ms Beck said.

 

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