Drinking behind the wheel denied

A woman who was reportedly swigging from a wine bottle while driving along the peninsula has been ordered to undertake counselling.

Beckie Storm Piaf Ireland (48) admitted breaching her zero-alcohol licence provisions but denied drinking while driving, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

Police pulled the defendant over in Portobello Rd at 10am on October 1 after reports of her consuming wine while behind the wheel but counsel Karlena Lawrence stressed no bottle was found in the vehicle.

Ms Lawrence said it was the "remnants of the night before" when Ireland had been drinking to celebrate her anniversary.

She told Community Magistrate Sally O’Brien her client had only driven because she was desperate to see a doctor.

Ireland had been feeling unwell — experiencing dizziness and hot-and-cold flushes — for three days and her partner was not around to transport her, Ms Lawrence said.

"She’s put her health first and she should have explored other options," she said.

When police breathalysed Ireland she gave a reading of 202mcg, which normally would not result in a charge being laid as the legal limit is 250mcg.

The defendant was on a zero-alcohol licence at the time.

It was Ireland’s third such offence in the past seven years.

In 2013, with a level of 1119mcg, she was given a rehabilitative sentence but that did not stop her returning to court in 2016 with a slightly lower reading.

On that occasion she was given intensive supervision and community work.

Ms O’Brien yesterday sentenced Ireland to nine months’ supervision and fined her $200. She was banned from driving for 28 days after which the alcohol-interlock regime would apply.



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