Prison or busk


An English tourist caught speeding at 178kmh avoided a jail term by raising cash for a $1000 fine through busking in Queenstown.

Peter Lee, 46, of Kent, was convicted at the resort’s district court on Monday of driving at a dangerous speed.

Lee - who teaches driving skills to police back home - was clocked in a 100kmh zone on State Highway 6 near Hokitika on Sunday.

Unable to pay a hefty fine, Judge Michael Crosbie told him the .

But when he re-appeared for sentencing on Tuesday, duty lawyer Liam Collins says his client raised funds by busking on Monday night and also ‘crowdsourcing’.

Collins says Lee was speeding on the 5km straight because his father, a passenger in the rental vehicle, was suffering from diarrhoea and needed to use a toilet.

Crosbie says Lee was guilty of “grossly excessive speeding” at a time when the conduct of tourist drivers was under scrutiny.

“While you might have had a reason for moderately exceeding the speed limit, there is no justification for that speed.

“Whether you are driving in a straight line or not, you pose a risk to other members of the public.”

Lee was fined $1000 and disqualified from driving for nine months.

The court heard on Monday that Lee would struggle to pay a fine of more than a few hundred dollars.

He was before the England courts on bankruptcy and liquidation matters, and his trip to New Zealand was being wholly funded by his father.

Failure to pay the fine within 24 hours would result in a 21-day period of imprisonment.

“If the fine isn’t paid, you will be stopped at the border and taken into custody,” Crosbie says.