Strath-Taieri board member in DUI strife

The man appeared at the Dunedin District Court this morning. Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Another member of the embattled Strath-Taieri Community Board is in hot water after being caught drink-driving.

David Russell "Jock" Frew, 72, appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday where he indicated he planned to plead guilty to the charge.

According to court documents, the board member, whose occupation is listed as "bar manager", was stopped in Gladbrook Rd, Middlemarch, two weeks ago and gave a breath-alcohol reading of 482mcg — nearly twice the legal limit.

Frew refused to comment outside court.

He will come before a community magistrate next week.

City councillor and Strath-Taieri Community Board member Bill Acklin, who has two drink-driving offences to his name, said it was a "dreadful situation to be in".

"Stupid is as stupid does, and if you want to take that chance and it doesn’t turn out in your favour if you get stopped, it turns out really bad," he said.

Jock Frew
Jock Frew
Cr Acklin said he would not be calling for Frew’s resignation and pointed to local governance laws which dictated elected members were ineligible to continue serving only if convicted of an offence which carries a maximum two-year (or greater) sentence of imprisonment.

Drink-driving has a three-month maximum penalty.

"The law is very very clear . . . you don’t have to vacate office but what you do have to do is face your constituents and that’s no easy thing to do," Cr Acklin said.

Board chair Barry Williams took a similar tack to Frew when asked for his reaction.

"No comment. I’ve had enough of the ODT’s reporting," he said.

It is not the first time the board and its members have made headlines.

Mr Williams came under intense scrutiny in August last year after it emerged he called a Strath Taieri Hotel worker a racial slur after she she mixed up a food order.

He received a letter of censure from the Dunedin City Council for his breach of the code of conduct and Mayor Jules Radich invited his resignation.

Mr Williams apologised for his outburst but, after speaking to family and friends, refused to give up his position on the community board.

In 2017, board member Bevan Dowling resigned from his role after being convicted of assaulting a woman.

Mr Dowling was then convicted of drink-driving the following year.