‘Never a reason’ to have a six-pack of beer while driving, judge says

A Dunedin man has been blasted by a judge for "literally drinking and driving".

Roy Bell (26) bought six beers and drank them on the drive home from Queenstown before crashing through a paddock fence.

Judge Michael Crosbie was astounded when the police summary of facts revealed the alcohol had been consumed en route.

"So you were literally drinking and driving," he said.

It was unusual, the judge said, to see a first offender so flagrantly breaching their responsibilities as a motorist.

"This is not a case of a mistake, inadvertence or miscalculation," he said.

"There is never a reason a person should buy a six-pack and drive somewhere while drinking it."

Defence counsel Deborah Henderson said her client’s presence in Queenstown on Christmas Eve had dredged up some unhappy memories.

"He just wanted to go back home," she said.

So Bell set off for Dunedin, and took a six-pack with him on his journey. While driving in McMaster Rd — a rural gravel road — he approached a sharp left-hand bend but failed to slow down.

His vehicle skidded through a fence and ended up in a field.

Bell contacted his parents who picked him up from the scene.

However, they were in no mood to cover for his drunken misdemeanour. More than an hour after the crash, police visited Bell at his home where he was breathalysed.

His reading of 728mcg was nearly three times the legal limit.

Police would have had no idea about Bell’s road beers had it not been for his subsequent disclosures.His honesty did not help his case in court, as Judge Crosbie called it "incredibly irresponsible, abhorrent behaviour".

He was shocked to hear Bell considered he might have had issues with alcohol in the past but was now free of them.

"You have a drinking problem and you need to do something about it," Judge Crosbie said.

Bell was sentenced to 100 hours’ community work, fined $500 and disqualified from driving for a year.

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