'Menace to the community' jailed for drink-driving

A nine-time drink-driver has been jailed for a year and slammed by a judge as "a menace to the community".

Justin Allan Parsons (53) appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday where his counsel, Alex Bligh, argued the defendant's four previous jail terms for drink-driving had not worked.

"Clearly, it hasn't had the desired effect," she said.

However, Judge Kevin Phillips had a different take.

"Prison did work. When he was in prison, no-one was at risk," he said.

This time, Parsons was stopped shortly after midnight on May 24 while driving his Ford in Maclaggan St.

A breath test at the police station gave a reading of 868mcg - more than three times the legal limit, but not a personal worst.

Judge Phillips charted Parsons' chequered history which included some levels of more than 1000mcg.

The defendant told officers he had consumed three bottles of beer.

"That was a lie," the judge said.

What was more concerning, he said, was that Parsons was driving back from central Dunedin all the way to his home in Seacliff.

"You wouldn't have known where you were," Judge Phillips said.

Ms Bligh stressed Parsons had never undergone residential rehabilitation and he had made enquiries with a Salvation Army-run programme.

The defendant would be able to start in a month, she said.

"He's reached rock bottom and realised he needs to address his alcoholism."

Judge Phillips, though, said incarceration was the only viable option.

"You have to understand it will not be accepted, will not be tolerated by the courts if you get behind the wheel of a car after having any alcohol at all," he said.

"You have to understand if you get caught, you will go to prison; there isn't any alternative other than prison available . . . you're a menace to the community."

Once Parsons is released, he will be subject to six months' release conditions, which include:

  • To attend a residential rehabilitation programme.
  • To attend and complete a relapse prevention programme.
  • Not to possess or consume alcohol or drugs; and to submit to random testing as required.

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