Apology keeps repeat drink-driver out of prison

August 23, 2016 | By More

Court House-general1Bay Aferahama Haika’s very public apology has helped to keep him out of prison for his fourth drink-driving conviction.

Christchurch District Court Judge John Strettell told the 55-year-old that prison was sometimes imposed for a fourth conviction at a high level.

Haika’s level was high when he was caught driving erratically on Fitzgerald Avenue at 9pm on December 18. He had 1013mcg of alcohol to a litre of breath – more than four times the legal limit.

But defence counsel Kerry Cook urged the judge to consider the long gap of 19 years since Haika’s last conviction, his genuine remorse, and his attendance at a treatment programme.

Haika had taken the “extraordinary step” of publicly apologising by publishing a newspaper advertisement.  “Most people who come to the courts try to keep their offending as private as possible,” he said.

Judge Strettell said to Haika: “You have taken steps to put yourself through a programme and have apologised generally to others through an advertisement in the paper. That is uncommon, I have to say. It does at least recognise a degree of remorse.”

But he said Haika had been driving with a high level of breath-alcohol, when it was clear from his erratic driving that he was a danger on the roads and could not properly control his vehicle.

He also took into account the long gap since his last conviction.

He imposed four months of community detention with a nightly curfew at Haika’s Linwood address, 150 hours of community work, nine months of intensive supervision with a special condition that he take alcohol and drug intervention as required, and disqualified him for driving for a year.

Haika, a salvage worker, had pleaded guilty to the charge in June.

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