Gore drink-driver gets 'gold medal' for 'absolute stupidity'

A judge has told a Gore engineer he was the ‘‘gold medal’’ winner for having the highest breath-alcohol level of the day. 

Judge Kevin Phillips also questioned the ‘‘mental faculties’’ of Jacob William Pannett-Miller, 24, when sentencing him in the Gore District Court today.

Pannett-Miller was drinking at the Howl at the Moon bar in the Southland town on October 21 when police spoke to him during a routine check at the bar about 10.30pm.

He was ‘‘intoxicated, slurring his words, smelled of alcohol and unsteady on his feet’’, the police summary of facts said.

However, as they were leaving, they saw him drive away in his ute.

After Pannett-Miller was stopped about 800m away on Latham Ln, his breath-alcohol level was found to be 1013mcg, more than four times the legal limit.

Judge Phillips said the ‘‘flagrant’’ offending was difficult to understand given the defendant had a good job and a previously clean record.

He asked Pannett-Miller’s lawyer, John Fraser, if he should have the defendant assessed under a Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act order.

‘‘Is there something wrong with his mental faculties?’’

Referring to the six other drink-drivers up for sentencing in the court today, including others with high breath-alcohol levels, he told Pannett-Miller he had ‘‘headed them all off’’.

‘‘A gold medal you get for that.’’

His actions were a ‘‘total rejection of the law’’, which aggravated the offending, he said.

‘‘Take a look in the mirror — you’ve got all this on your shoulders because of absolute stupidity.’’

Pannett-Miller was convicted, ordered to pay a fine of $1100, court costs of $130, and disqualified from driving for eight months.