Drink-driver loses car and must pay for sports field damage

A drunk driver who skidded donuts that ripped up the surface of a Hornby sports field must pay $3009 for the damage he did and his car has been taken off him.

The Nissan car that 39-year-old Graeme Thomas used on the Hornby Rugby League Club’s Leslie Park remains impounded and now he won’t get it back after his Christchurch District Court sentencing.

Thomas admitting drink-driving, driving with a sustained loss of traction, wilful damage, and failing to stop for the police.

Judge David Saunders imposed four months of community detention with a nightly curfew at a Main South Road address, and supervision for nine months while Thomas must have an assessment for alcohol and drug issues and take any treatment or counselling as directed.

He was disqualified from driving for a year and a day and the car was confiscated. He is not allowed to have any financial interest in a vehicle for a year.

After the July 5 incident, Thomas’ alcohol level was measured at 1027mcg to a litre of breath. He has been caught drink-driving at least twice before so heavier penalties applied.

Judge Saunders ordered him to pay $1000 to the league club for the damage within 28 days and pay the rest by weekly instalments. He said it was a matter of concern that someone was driving around with such a high level – the legal limit is 250mcg.

Defence counsel Trudi Aickin said Thomas had little recollection of the incident. He had given up drinking in 2007 but sometimes had relapses around the anniversary of a family tragedy which he found difficult to cope with.

He was now showing insight into his issues and was willing to undertake rehabilitation treatment, she said.

“He can’t explain why he behaved in the way he did,” she said.

Police said Thomas drove a vehicle through a steel rope barrier at 11.50pm on July 5, at the park on the corner of the Main South Road and Halswell Junction Road. He drove around for several minutes ripping up the grass. Police told the court that repairing the damage had cost $3009.