Repeat drink-driver’s appeal over sentence upheld

Codie McNoe is arrested after evading police at a checkpoint in Dunedin in 2018. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Codie McNoe is arrested after evading police at a checkpoint in Dunedin in 2018. PHOTO: ODT FILES
A repeat drink-driver who told a judge "I’m not worried about going to jail, bro" now wants to get out of jail.

In July, Codie James Benjamin McNoe, 39, was sentenced in the Invercargill District Court to 18 months’ imprisonment for his sixth drink-driving conviction, aggravated refusal of a blood specimen, aggravated disqualified driving and driving contrary to a zero-alcohol licence.

Last month, he appealed his sentence in the High Court after Judge Michael Turner imposed conditions that he must serve six months of his sentence before he could apply for home detention — which had to be at a residential rehabilitation facility.

McNoe said it was beyond the judge’s powers to impose those conditions and the Crown conceded.

The first charges came when McNoe was seen swerving within his lane before crossing the centre line on State Highway 1 near Dunedin in January 2021.

A member of the public followed the defendant into a carpark, where McNoe got out of the vehicle and was showing signs of intoxication.

He refused to have a blood specimen taken and claimed he had not been driving, despite being the sole occupant of the car.

In July 2022, McNoe was driving in Lumsden when he was stopped by police and gave a breath-alcohol reading of 1041mcg — more than four times the legal limit.

During sentencing, the Mataura man’s then-counsel Kate McHugh advocated for home detention, but the court heard he had only recently agreed to sign forms consenting to electronic monitoring.

"He’s suddenly got the sense that he’s going to jail," Judge Turner said.

The defendant told the judge that his change of heart was because he was attempting to turn his life around.

"I’m not worried about going to jail, bro," McNoe said from the dock.

"It’s good as gold — whatever you reckon man."

Justice Melanie Harland allowed the appeal and quashed the conditions imposed by the district court judge.

"I agree that the conditions imposed by the judge were ultra vires [beyond the powers]. All that could be done was to grant leave to apply for cancellation of the sentence of imprisonment and substitution of a sentence of home detention," she said.

McNoe had already filed an application to have his sentence converted to home detention.