Drink-driver hits the big time

Car-front-blueA determined drink-driver did not bother applying for bail after crashing in Brougham Street with a stratospheric alcohol level of 1623mcg.

The legal limit for a traffic prosecution is 250mcg of alcohol to a litre of breath, and the limit that triggers a court appearance is 400mcg.

Christchurch District Court Judge Paul Kellar said the 1623mcg level recorded for Raymond George Gilchrist was “one of the higher breath-alcohol readings I have seen”.

Duty lawyer Andrew McKenzie said Gilchrist – a 49-year-old forklift driver – was realistic and would not waste the court’s time applying for bail.

He was already on bail for sentencing next week on a similar charge, and the pre-sentence report will now cover the new charges he admitted today. The judge said the alcohol level on the earlier charge was almost as high as the new offence.

He pleaded guilty today to driving while forbidden, careless driving, and driving with excess breath-alcohol.

Gilchrist, from Sockburn, was driving on Brougham Street at 5.35pm on Thursday when he drove into the back of a stationary truck that was waiting in a line of traffic.

Police found he was affected by alcohol and carried out a breath test.

Gilchrist told them he had started drinking at 7am and had drunk five jugs of beer.

Judge Kellar said Gilchrist had a substantial history of drink-driving and faced an inevitable term of imprisonment.

He also faced prosecution because he had been disqualified from driving for three months in 2014 to get an alcohol interlock device which prevents drink-driving. He had never got the device fitted and had driven anyway.

The police said that Gilchrist’s car would normally have been confiscated but it was written off in the crash.

He is now remanded in custody for sentencing on all charges on April 22.

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