Disqualified but drove to get food

A disqualified motorist who drove to get some food rather than walk the short distance was "giving the finger to the system", a judge says.

It was Hirini Sidney Mate’s 25th driving-related conviction the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

The 39-year-old was stopped by police after running a red light in Princes St on April 16 last year.

Mate told officers he knew he was disqualified.

Counsel Brian Kilkelly said his client was travelling to get food at the time and accepted it was a "stupid decision".

"Astoundingly", Mr Kilkelly said, Mate revealed he could have walked the distance, which was only a couple of kilometres from his home.

Judge Michael Crosbie was unimpressed.

"It’s not a desperate attempt by a man who needed to get to work; it’s giving the finger to the system," he said.

"That really signals to the court that you’re just a person who doesn’t take much notice of these disqualification periods at all.

"You simply found the prospect of walking inconvenient."

Mate was last before the court on driving matters in 2018, when he was jailed for 18 months, for offending which involved drink-driving at an "extraordinarily high" level.

Mr Kilkelly said his client’s circumstances had changed.

The defendant was now working as a scaffolder and it was a source of "immense pride" that he had recently been given a leadership role by his employer.

His boss had agreed to keep the job open if he received an electronically-monitored sentence.

"He wants one final chance to remain in the community," Mr Kilkelly said.

"He realises he just needs to stay away from vehicles."

Judge Crosbie sentenced Mate to six months’ home detention and banned him from driving for a year and a day.

 

 

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