Drink-driver escapes conviction over move to Canada

A drink-driver caught at more than twice the legal limit will not be convicted because it would prevent him from moving to Canada.

Queenstown man Robert Dundas Dooner (25) appeared on one charge of drink-driving in the Queenstown District Court on Thursday.

Judge Mark Callaghan said on December 2 in 2017, Dooner recorded an excess breath-alcohol level of 856mcg after being stopped by police in Fernhill Rd.

Judge Callaghan said Dooner had claimed he was at a function and had parked his car on the side of the road, overlapping a driveway.

Dooner claimed he simply decided to move the car to another park.

When his partner saw him behind the wheel, she believed he was intending to drive and removed the keys from the ignition, causing the car to be stopped in the middle of the road.

Police in the area saw the incident, and saw Dooner get out of the car with a beer in his hand.

Dooner claimed to police the beer belonged to the passenger in his car.

Dooner and his partner, a Canadian national, were planning to move to Canada later in the year, Judge Callaghan said.

If convicted, Dooner would not be able to enter Canada for at least five years.

Judge Callaghan acknowledged granting a discharge without conviction was rare in New Zealand courts, but said the consequence outweighed the need for a conviction.

"This is one of those occasions where a conviction would have a devastating effect on your future."

He granted the discharge without conviction, subject to Dooner paying $1250 to a charitable trust. Dooner was also disqualified from holding a licence for six months.

- By Daisy Hudson

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