Community detention for drink-driver

Andrew Henderson in court. Photo: Rob Kidd
Andrew Henderson in court. Photo: Rob Kidd
A Dunedin mechanic involved in an alcohol-fuelled hit and run removed his registration plates and left his wrecked vehicle, a court heard.

Andrew Thomas Henderson (23) appeared in the Dunedin District Court this week after pleading guilty to drink-driving, dangerous driving causing injury and failing to stop after an accident.

Judge John Strettell sentenced him to four months' community detention and nine months' supervision.

The court, he said, was often told an offender had simply ''panicked'' but in this case the judge believed that was exactly what happened when Henderson hit the victim's car.

''You were overcome by the consequences of what had happened and you chose to leave [the scene],'' the judge said.

Henderson had been drinking heavily on the night of September 23 and had got a courtesy coach home from the pub.

But once back, he argued with flatmates and opted to leave the address in his Toyota Hilux.

While heading north on Great King St, Henderson approached the victim from behind at speed. He changed lanes to overtake but clipped the Kia's rear.

''The collision caused the victim's vehicle to spin out of control, hitting a concrete wall and a telephone booth several metres down the road,'' a police summary said.

Henderson slowed but continued without stopping.

The court was told he drove to Woodhaugh St, where he abandoned his badly damaged vehicle, removed the numberplates and left them in a friend's front yard.

Police found him 100m away from where he left his Toyota.

His speech was slurred and his eyes bloodshot, police said.

A breath test gave a reading of 914mcg - nearly four times the legal limit.

The victim received a fractured vertebra but defence counsel Jo O'Neill said his client was fortunate the injuries were not more extensive.

Although Henderson had no previous convictions, he had five infringements for speeding and driving unlicensed vehicles.

In the weeks after the incident, the defendant sat down with the victim and emphasised his remorse. His apology was accepted by the man, who said to him: ''Your emotion shows.''

Henderson paid the victim $5265, covered by a loan from his parents. His own vehicle was written off.

Judge Strettell noted a letter of reference from the defendant's employer and accepted the conduct was out of character.

''It was a bad error of judgement that doesn't necessarily reflect you as a person,'' he said.

Henderson was banned from driving for 13 months.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

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