Queenstowner found guilty in drink-drive row

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A high-profile Queenstown businesswoman who fought drink-driving charges from almost three years ago has been found guilty. 

The 54-year-old woman – who still has interim name suppression – denied refusing to provide a blood sample, resisting arrest and refusing to accompany sergeant Kate Pirovano at 1am on August 10, 2008. 

In a reserved written decision, Judge Paul Kellar found her guilty but has allowed leave for her to make an application for discharge without conviction. She’ll be sentenced on July 26 in Dunedin. 

The woman’s protracted case spanned five days over three separate court hearings between June 2009 and July 2010. She was represented by veteran Auckland defence lawyer Barry Hart. 

During that time, the court heard that the woman claimed Pirovano “dragged me up the driveway like a crab” in handcuffs while being arrested at home. Police also reportedly said the woman tried to wash her mouth out with soap but she maintained she went to wash away her tears. 

At the final hearing, a male witness and an acquaintance of the woman – who also can’t be named – told the court that he poured her one vodka and tonic during the evening in question and he didn’t believe she was drunk. 

She’d been visiting to discuss arrangements following the death of a friend, Kiwi businessman and Rich Lister Peter Spencer, he said.