Impaired driver had cannabis, knives in car

A stoned man who crashed into a fence on a stranger’s property was found with cannabis and two knives in his car, a court has heard.

John Oakley Ross (58), beneficiary, was sentenced in the Gore District Court yesterday on a raft of charges relating to the incident near Hokitika on February 7.

The police summary said the defendant failed to negotiate a bend in the road, careered up a private driveway and crashed into a wooden fence.

When police arrived, Ross admitted to smoking cannabis and appeared to be intoxicated.

A cannabis pipe was on the driver’s seat, two large hunting knives were in the driver’s footwell and a Roses chocolate tin containing 49g of cannabis head was on the front passenger’s seat.

The defendant was taken to the Hokitika police station, where he failed a compulsory drug impairment test.

A blood specimen showed cannabis was in his system.

The defendant told police he had smoked a large amount that day, and was driving too fast on the bend.

The knives were for his protection because he was "a little paranoid", he said.

He was charged with possessing a weapon, possessing cannabis, possessing a cannabis utensil, drug-impaired driving and careless driving.

Counsel Tina Williams said the defendant had been "clearly disorientated" and should not have been driving.

"He missed a turn and got completely lost."

Judge Kevin Phillips said it was the sort of offending he expected from an immature person, not someone the defendant’s age.

"What’s really frightening was that you were intending to drive from Hokitika to Christchurch in that condition."

The defendant had drug and alcohol addiction issues dating back to his youth, and the sentence needed a rehabilitative component, the judge said.

Ross was sentenced to four months’ community detention and nine months’ supervision and disqualified from driving for six months.



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