Over-the-limit driver wanted his fish to stay fresh

A Queenstown man drove while four times the legal limit because he wanted to get his catch of fish and oysters home.

Jason George Johnston, 43, of Fernhill, recorded a breath-alcohol level of 1088mcg after he was stopped by police in Stewart St, Frankton, on April 14.

Johnston, whose vehicle’s registration had expired, already had at least two drink-driving convictions.

At his sentencing in the Queenstown District Court on Monday on a charge of aggravated drink-driving, counsel Bryony Shackell said the defendant had been driven by a sober driver from Bluff earlier that day.

He had intended to get a taxi home from where he had parked his vehicle but, after misplacing his eftpos card, decided to drive because he wanted to get his fresh catch home.

"The circumstances conspired against him on this occasion, and he let himself down."

The offending triggered alcohol interlock provisions, which would affect his job as a crane operator.

Although he could operate a crane at a particular site, someone else would have to move it between locations, she said.

Judge Russell Walker told the defendant his alcohol level was "terribly high", and he would have known he should not be driving.

He convicted Johnston and sentenced him to 100 hours’ community work.

After 28 days, he can apply for an alcohol interlock licence.