Drinks after work end in sentencing

A Wanaka painter and recidivist drink-driver decided he had earned a few drinks after working for 33 hours straight.

The problem was, he then decided to drive to the pub.

On July 7 last year, Stephen Shane Tonge (52) had worked all day and all night to complete a job for a building contractor.

After having a few drinks, he was driving along Riverbank Rd on his way to the Prince Albert pub in Albert Town when another motorist saw him cross the centre line about 10 times, twice go around bends completely on the wrong side of the road, and force an oncoming vehicle to take evasive action when he straddled the centre line on a third bend.

The motorist followed him to the Prince Albert’s car park, where Tonge got out of his stationwagon and staggered inside. When police arrived, he refused to accompany the officer to the police station, and later refused to give a blood sample for alcohol analysis.

His lawyer, Kieran Tohill, told the Queenstown District Court yesterday Tonge ‘‘makes bad decisions’’.

The defendant, who has drink-driving convictions from 2006, 2011 and 2018, told a probation officer his refusal to co-operate was because of previous ‘‘bad experience with authority figures’’.

Judge Bernadette Farnan convicted him on a charge of refusing to give a blood specimen, and sentenced him to five months’ community detention with a daily curfew, and 18 months’ intensive supervision to allow intervention for his alcohol issues.

She also disqualified him from driving for 28 days, with an alcohol interlock and zero-alcohol licence provisions.

For refusing to accompany an officer and careless driving, he was convicted and discharged.


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