Monday, August 8

Community detention for former entertainment industry star


A man with a once illustrious career in the entertainment industry has appeared in the Blenheim District Court on charges in relation to a drink-drive offence. Photo / Tracy Neal

The tale of a former New Zealand entertainment industry personality, whose decline into a series of drink-drive offences saw him once run over someone’s leg, has logged its latest chapter in court today.

The man who previously had a high-profile career, both in New Zealand and overseas, has today had a four-month community detention sentence re-imposed, now that he has secured a place to live.

He has permanent name suppression on the grounds of the extreme hardship he would face if named.

The man, a repeat drink-driver, was left with nowhere to live after he was evicted from his accommodation in Blenheim when a recent drink-drive sentence was revealed.

It meant he was unable to start community detention, until he found a place to live.

He appeared in court in early April for sentence review when probation was unable to fit his electronically monitored bracelet, due to the lack of address.

Judge Garry Barkle then cancelled the man’s community detention and remanded him at large until today, so he could find an address from where to serve his sentence.

The man appeared again today in the Blenheim District Court, almost unrecognisable from former glory days on television, for another review of community detention which stemmed from an earlier charge of driving with excess breath alcohol on a third or subsequent time.

One of the charges related to an incident last year after police spotted him driving in Picton with no front bumper on his car.

An alcohol breath test showed him with 883 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

It followed two instances of being caught drink-driving within days of each other in November 2017. On the first occasion he drove over someone’s leg on the banks of Blenheim’s Taylor River.

A few days later he was caught drink driving a second time while driving between Nelson and Blenheim.

The court heard he was driving through unsealed roadworks with a 50km/h speed limit at Whangamoa on State Highway 6 when he lost control and slid into the path of an oncoming truck and trailer unit, crashing into a rope barrier.

The man and the truck driver were injured and were taken to Nelson Hospital.

The man’s lawyer Rob Harrison said at the time his client suffered from alcohol issues and depression after the “disintegration” of his life.

Media reported that the man had completed a rehab course, and was a recovering alcoholic and was at a “precarious point”.

The court heard then the man’s depression had contributed to his offending.

Harrison told the court today his client now had a secure address.

Judge David Ruth re-imposed the sentence, with curfew on the same terms to start from tomorrow.

The original sentence included a curfew of 9pm to 6am and nine months’ supervision. He was also disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 28 days and had to complete an alcohol counselling and treatment programme as well as a driving education programme.



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