Drink-driver lashes out when arrested

A five-time drink-driver went berserk when he was arrested and had to be pepper-sprayed into compliance, a court has heard.

Rodney William Peoples (52) appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday after previously pleading guilty to aggravated refusal to provide a blood specimen.

On June 13, facing more serious charges featuring his ex-partner, the man was out drinking in Dunedin in breach of his bail.

Police had been informed and were out looking for Peoples.

When they pulled his ute over in Hillside Rd, it was anything but a run-of-the-mill arrest.

Peoples gave a breath test, which indicated he was over the legal limit.

After officers informed him he was obliged to accompany them to the station to give an evidential sample, the fireworks began.

In the back of the patrol car, Peoples started to shout and flail his arms. He removed his seatbelt and started kicking. Officers pepper-sprayed the defendant and handcuffed him.

At the station his belligerent behaviour continued.

Peoples could not complete a breath test and then refused to give a blood sample.

Defence counsel Alex Bligh stressed her client had ultimately been cleared of any wrongdoing against his former partner after a jury found him not guilty at trial.

At the time of the drink-driving, however, he was “under immense stress” as a result of the allegations and breakdown of the relationship, Ms Bligh said.

Peoples’ most recent similar offence came in 2015, the court heard.

That incident also came at a time of heightened tension.

“He turns to alcohol in times of stress,” Ms Bligh said.

She told the court the defendant was now committed to abstinence.

Peoples had lost his job as a fitter and welder because of the criminal charges but Ms Bligh said his life was now more stable since he moved in with family in Kaitangata.

Judge Kevin Phillips noted the defendant blamed his ex-partner for much of his recent problems.

“In the end, quite simply, you’re the man driving the car, you’re the person responsible, you’re the person who totally lost control of himself and acted in this way,” he said.

Peoples was sentenced to four months’ community detention (on a 7pm-6am curfew).

He was banned from driving for 28 days with an alcohol-interlock licence to follow.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz