Drink-driver sentenced

A few beers while watching the rugby on a Saturday night no doubt seemed like a good idea to an Oamaru man, but the same could not be said for his decision to drive home.

Nicholas Matthew Lea’Aemanu (23), of Oamaru, appeared for sentencing before Judge Joanna Maze in the Oamaru District Court yesterday on charges of drink-driving and driving while disqualified.

The court heard at an earlier appearance Lea’Aemanu downed an unknown number of beers while enjoying a game of rugby on television at an Oamaru address on January 19.

Shortly before 1am on January 20 he made what would be an ill-fated decision to get behind the wheel of his Toyota and drive home.

He was quickly spotted by police driving at a speed more than 70kmh on Thames Highway, which has a posted speed limit of 50kmh.

Police pursued Lea’Aemanu and signalled for him to pull over after he turned into Farnham St, which he eventually did.

Suspecting he had been drinking, police conducted a breath-alcohol test on Lea’Aemanu which returned a result of 525mcg. His vehicle was immediately impounded for 28 days under the Land Transport Act 1998.

Lea’Aemanu’s lawyer Michael De Buyzer told Judge Maze his client did not have alcohol-related issues and his offending was an error of judgement.

She considered delaying the sentencing to obtain a pre-sentence report, but went ahead at the request of Mr De Buyzer through his client.

On the drink-driving charge, Judge Maze sentenced Lea’Aemanu to nine months’ supervision, disqualified him under an alcohol interlock sentence for 28 days, and authorised him to apply for an alcohol interlock licence.

He was also disqualified for six months on the charge of driving while disqualified, to be served concurrently.

Meanwhile, Jamie Brian Keith Skudder (31), of Oamaru, was convicted and ordered to come up for sentence if called upon within six months on charges of breach of community detention and breach of intensive supervision.


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