'Mad, bad and dangerous' - Drink-driver banned indefinitely

Sean Duffy has been banned from driving indefinitely. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
Sean Duffy has been banned from driving indefinitely. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
Most people do not accumulate three drink-driving convictions in a lifetime — it took Sean Graeme Duffy just a month.

The Dunedin District Court heard yesterday how the 28-year-old’s wild ways got progressively more reckless by the week.

Even his counsel Rhona Daysh condemned his behaviour as "absolutely appalling, mad and bad and dangerous."

Duffy, who chalked up his first drink-driving conviction in 2011, was stopped by police on July 12 in Mosgiel.

He gave a breath-alcohol level of 600mcg and told officers he had downed "three or four Cody’s" and was picking up a friend.

Duffy appeared in court on the charge eight days later and within hours of getting bail, he was back on the road.

Driving the same Nissan, the defendant backed into a stationary vehicle in Cole St.

A witness reported him "stumble" from his car and on to the grass verge and when police arrived, Duffy was hardly the picture of sobriety.

Officers approached him while at the scene and saw him drinking a bottle of beer.

Duffy was forthright with his explanation, if frank.

"I’m f...ed. I was driving," he said.

His breath-alcohol level of 1045mcg was "extraordinarily high", said Judge Peter Rollo.

The legal limit is 250mcg.

The final episode took place on August 12 when Duffy lost control on a bend in Quarry Rd.

He slammed into a parked car but continued his ill-fated journey, hitting another unoccupied vehicle further down the same street.

With a shredded tyre, smoke spewing from the engine and a smashed windscreen Duffy drove on.

But a concerned member of public followed the wreck as he headed towards town.

Police caught up with the defendant in Sidey St and he was taken to the station where he provided a blood sample.

This time he was more than three times over the limit.

Judge Rollo described it as: "a picture of dangerous driving with real risk, not only to you and parked cars but others in the vicinity of the road."

Ms Daysh said her client accepted he was an alcoholic.

"When he’s under any stress he resorts to drinking, and drinking to excess," she said.

Duffy had responded in a similar way when he found out he was to be a father but since the child’s birth, Ms Daysh said, he had taken to parenthood.

"Your son will expect you to provide the best example a father could provide, don’t disappoint him," said the judge.

Duffy was sentenced to five months’ community detention, 12 months’ supervision, 150 hours’ community work and $500 reparation.

Judge Rollo disqualified him from driving indefinitely and ordered him not to own a vehicle for a year.

 - rob.kidd@odt.co.nz



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter