Stand-up impressionist fined for drink-driving

Simon McKinney says he had four drinks in town before being stopped by police on the way home....
Simon McKinney says he had four drinks in town before being stopped by police on the way home. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
It was no joke.

Simon James McKinney (43), who calls himself ‘‘New Zealand’s #1 stand-up character impressionist’’, appeared before the Dunedin District Court yesterday where he was fined $450 and banned from driving for six months by community magistrate Simon Heale.

The Otago Daily Times caught up with the defendant, just hours after he was sentenced, down the road from the courthouse, indulging in a cold beer at a central Dunedin bar.

McKinney declined to comment when approached.

Court documents noted McKinney was stopped in Portsmouth Dr on July 31 at 3.12am.

When spoken to, the court heard, he showed signs of alcohol consumption and admitted to police he had been drinking.

He gave a breath-alcohol reading of 600mcg, more than twice the legal limit.

‘‘In explanation the defendant stated that he only had a few drinks in town over several hours and believed that he was under the limit and would be able to drive,’’ a police summary said.

Duty lawyer Ann Leonard said it was the first time McKinney had come before the court.

She explained the defendant was ‘‘celebrating a good day’’ and had consumed four drinks.

A Billy T Award nominee, McKinney won best male comedian at 2007’s New Zealand Comedy Guild as well as the Reilly Comedy Award from the Variety Artists of New Zealand three years later.

The company that manages the defendant said he was best known for his impressions, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bert & Ernie and Elmo.

‘‘It’s his impersonations of the everyday folk like ‘the Kiwi lady’, ‘that drunk guy’ and his international accents that connect him with his audience,’’ the website said.



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