Judge hears appeals for lighter sentences

The man behind a destructive driving spree in the Wanaka area last year wants his disqualification sentence to be reduced.

Yesterday, in the High Court at Invercargill, Gareth Byron Lange appealed a sentencing decision made at Queenstown District Court in April.

In April, he pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a series of incidents on December 17 when he drove with a breath-alcohol level of 990mcg.

Judge Bernadette Farnan sentenced him to 14 months in prison and disqualified him from driving for 27 months, with zero-alcohol licence provisions to apply upon his release.

Yesterday, defence counsel Kirsty Allan said Lange was not challenging imprisonment, but was asking Justice Rachel Dunningham to reconsider the disqualification period as he wanted to find a job after prison.

Ms Allan said the 27 months would make this difficult and 18 months’ disqualification would be more appropriate.

Crown prosecutor Riki Donnelly said despite police intervention, the man had decided to continue to drive. He said the disqualification was appropriate for the community’s protection.

Justice Dunningham reserved her decision.

In a separate case, Central Otago man Jake James White appealed a prison sentence he was given for breaching a protection order three times.

In April, in the Queenstown District Court, Judge Michael Turner sentenced White to two years and six months’ prison.

Yesterday, defence counsel Kieran Tohill told Justice Dunningham the starting point of the charges was "excessive";

his client had no previous convictions for breaching protection orders.

Crown prosecutor Riki Donnelly said White’s actions caused "significant psychological harm to the victim".

The judge reserved her decision.


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