High level drink-driver jailed for a year

Court House from Victoria Sq-101Eleven-time drink-driver Raymond George Gilchrist who crashed into a truck last week when he had 1623mcg of alcohol to a litre of breath has been jailed for a year.

The 49-year-old fork-lift driver told his pre-sentence report writer that his latest crash was “a wake-up call”. It made him realise that potential for seriously injuring himself or others.

“One can hope the message is finally getting through,” said Christchurch District Court Judge Raoul Neave as he imposed the jail term, and an indefinite disqualification.

Gilchrist will be allowed to apply for a zero-alcohol licence when he finally gets permission from the Director of Land Transport to get his licence back.

Defence counsel Tim Fournier said Gilchrist, from Sockburn, accepted that only a prison term could be imposed. It was accepted that without rehabilitation, Gilchrist was a danger to the public.

He had admitted two charges of drink-driving, one of careless driving, and one of driving while forbidden.

Judge Neave said that in May last year, Gilchrist was a passenger in a car that crashed in Sockburn. He later returned to the vehicle and reversed it about 200m away from the corner where it crashed. His breath-alcohol level was 1588mcg to a litre of breath.

The breath-alcohol limit for a traffic offence is 250mcg. The limit that triggers prosecution at court is 400mcg.

Gilchrist was charged with drink-driving, prohibited from driving, and released on bail. He pleaded guilty and has been awaiting sentence.

Last week, while still on bail, he drank from 7am to the late afternoon, consuming five jugs of beer, he said, before crashing into the back of a stationary truck in a line of heavy traffic in Brougham Street. He had 1623mcg of alcohol in a litre of breath – a level the judge described as “extraordinarily high”.

“You had to be well aware that you had absolutely no business getting behind the wheel of a car,” said Judge Neave.

Gilchrist has nine previous drink-driving convictions stretching back to 1990.

“It is clear have have an exceptionally difficult alcohol problem and have as yet done little to address it,” said the judge.

There was no order to confiscate Gilchrist’s car. It was written off in the smash.


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