Too drunk to receive drink-drive sentence

A Dunedin woman due to be sentenced on her fifth drink-driving conviction this week turned up so drunk she could barely stand.

Angela Rosalie Jean Carey (38) was  to be sentenced in the Dunedin District Court on Thursday but when she finally arrived, court staff told Judge John Macdonald she was in no state to enter the dock.

"It would take two people to carry her," a court security officer said.

It marked a terrible week for Carey, who  - while on bail - turned up to a group counselling session on Monday after downing half a bottle of vodka.

She sobered up in custody on Thursday night and appeared for sentencing yesterday, when she was jailed for a year.

At 10.15am on April 14, Carey was driving through the Octagon in her Toyota Caldina.

She drove through a red light at the intersection with Princes St, causing traffic to have to manoeuvre around her.

When the road was clear, Carey then made an illegal right turn straight into a concrete planter box outside Night’n Day, narrowly missing a pedestrian.

The smash significantly damaged the front of her vehicle and members of the public pulled her out of the wreckage.

Carey failed a roadside breath test and was taken to the station to be processed.

However, while there she refused to provide a blood specimen.

Judge Macdonald said that in itself was an indicator of her intoxication.

"My impression from what I read was that you were clearly affected to quite some degree. Of course, nobody knows because you were not formally tested.

"Your offending does bring into the picture the safety or protection of the community."

The court heard Carey had four previous drink-driving convictions since 2001, all of which were at a high level.

Her new convictions for aggravated refusal to provide a blood specimen, aggravated driving while disqualified and dangerous driving were  simply more of the same,  defence counsel Noel Rayner said.

He said Carey had searched for a residential rehabilitation programme to address her alcoholism but had been unsuccessful.

Judge Macdonald said prison was the only option but  left the door open for the term to be converted to home detention.

However, substitution would only happen if Carey was guaranteed to serve the sentence at a rehabilitation facility, he said.

The woman was banned from driving indefinitely and ordered to pay $128 reparation.

Her car was confiscated and she would only have her licence returned when the director of Land Transport allowed it.

From there Carey would be subject to a zero-alcohol licence for three years.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

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