Drugged driver crashes car; avoids imprisonment

A Dunedin woman who slammed into another motorist while high on a cocktail of drugs, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, has narrowly avoided imprisonment.

Jessie MacGillivray (23) claimed she was not the driver in the November 2016 incident but at trial was found guilty of reckless driving causing injury and drugged-driving causing injury.

She was sentenced to 12 months' home detention before the Dunedin District Court yesterday - the maximum such sentence.

Judge Michael Crosbie endorsed the evidence at trial of an ambulance officer and police, to whom the defendant had admitted she was behind the wheel immediately afterwards.

A later analysis of MaGillivray's blood showed she had consumed methamphetamine, MDMA and cannabis before the crash, which happened on a blind corner of Burkes Dr, near the suburb of Maia.

She put her actions down to a combination of boredom, poor decision-making while abusing substances and the influence of a negative male associate who was in the car with her.

The judge said MacGillivray's recklessness was "no different than firing a gun into a crowded street".

"Driving a vehicle is dangerous at the best of times, let alone with what you had on board," he said.

While on bail, the following year, MacGillivray stayed at a motel for four nights and claimed Work and Income would be picking up the tab.

When she visited the office to try to arrange payment, a Ministry of Social Development case worker told the defendant what she had done amounted to fraud.

MacGillivray's reaction to the woman resulted in a charge of intimidation to go with one of obtaining by deception.

Her offending did not end there.

A verbal spat with a neighbour in January regarding the number of vehicles at the property resulted in a violent outburst.

MacGillivray punched the woman once in the face and several more times in the head.

She was set to take that case to trial but the Crown reduced the charges, which resulted in a guilty plea to assault.

Judge Crosbie noted MacGillivray's relatively brief criminal history but he highlighted past violence, driving and drug convictions.

Counsel Cate Andersen said her client - who wept openly in the dock through the hearing - had made some impressive efforts to attain stability in her life recently.

She placed emphasis on a psychologist's report which detailed a "particularly distressing upbringing".

MacGillivray had now found a home and was regularly seeing her son.

It was a fine line imposing a sentence reflective of both deterrence and rehabilitation, the judge said.

"You have a child and we want you as a normal, functioning member of society."

MacGillivray was banned from driving for three and a-half years and was ordered to pay $596 to the motel she defrauded as well as $1000 to the victim of the crash.

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