A judge described Allan Russell Pope’s history of disqualified and suspended driving as being “something of a record”, but still didn’t send him back to jail.
Pope has been offending since he was a teenager in 1979 and has 32 previous convictions.
He was before the Christchurch District Court for sentence again today after admitting yet another charge of driving while his licence was suspended.
His probation report and his defence counsel Donald Dickson recommended that a community-based sentence be imposed rather than jail, because of the long period since the last offending.
“The police, funnily enough, have a contrary view,” Mr Dickson said.
Judge Robert Murfitt told Pope: “You hold something of a record in my experience, with 32 previous convictions for this type of offending.”
He noted that Pope had been jailed in 2003 when the conviction was coupled with dishonesty offending, and again in 2007 when it was coupled with a serious drink-driving conviction.
On the latest occasion, Pope, 56, said he drove because he wanted to get to work to support his family.
Judge Murfitt said that ordinarily that would bring a jail term of up to a year, but he was able to step back from a prison sentence because it had been nine years since Pope’s last conviction. He had a positive report from his employer who described him as “a bloody good worker”.
Pope’s convictions had been “legion” between 1979 and 2000, but since then there had been only three.
“I think you are worth the risk of entrusting you to complete a community-based sentence,” said the judge.
He imposed six months of community detention at an address in Phillipstown, with a nightly curfew, and supervision for nine months with an order for Pope to complete driving and departmental treatment programmes.
He also disqualified Pope fromk driving for a year and told him he hoped that when the penalties had run their course Pope would be able to get himself on the road, legally.