Resort’s drink-drive dimwits


A Queenstown judge has once again vented her frustrations about the district’s chronic drink-drive problem.

Another 10 drink-drivers were in the district court dock before Judge Bernadette Farnan on Monday – that’s a little over par for course in the holiday town.

Mountain Scene’s been running a Name and Shame campaign for more than a year now, while sister paper the Otago Daily Times runs full court coverage.

But boozed drivers continue to put others in danger on the roads, often at two, three or even four times the legal limit.

Farnan, on Monday, says: “It doesn’t seem to matter what the Otago Daily Times and the Mountain Scene do, or what my brother and sister judges do, it just keeps on happening. We’ve had extraordinary high levels.”

Monday’s convictions included Brazilian cook Jonas Marilan Picirillo, 35, of Frankton.

A witness spotted him driving around the corner by the Millennium Hotel, on Frankton Road, on the wrong side of the road, shortly before 1am on October 14.

Before that he’d hit a bollard in the CBD. He stopped on Frankton Rd after his car hit a bank.

Picirillo was more than four times the legal blood limit – 212mg. The limit is 50mg. He initially denied being the driver before admitting he was driving home after “a few drinks”.

He was sentenced to 60 hours’ community work, six months’ supervision, fined $250 and banned from driving for eight months.

Other convictions

Jonathan Davies, 38, photographer, of Queenstown, 931mcg, and careless driving, Lake Ave, September 3, reparation $933, fined $600, eight-month ban.

Max David Nicholson, 23, working holidaymaker, of Wanaka, 165mg, careless driving and intentional damage, Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Rd, October 8, reparation $977, fined $1150, eight-month ban.

Rachel May Scott, 28, of Wanaka, 783mcg, Main Rd, Dunedin, September 23, fined $900, seven-month ban.

Richard Edward Lindsay, 31, driver, of Wanaka, 747mcg, Dunmore Street, Wanaka, October 14, fined $850, seven-month ban.

Umberto Passarella, 27, of Frankton, 529mcg, Frankton Rd, October 28, fined $600, six-month ban.

Dale Maurice Howarth, 26, carpenter, of England, living in Queenstown, 134mg, Camp Street, October 6, fined $750, six-month ban.

Jason Leigh Merritt, 29, of Australia, living in Fernhill, 476mcg, Lake Esplanade, November 9, fined $550, six-month ban.

Ankur Chauhan, 31, taxi driver, of Queenstown, 468mcg, Beach St, July 30, 50 hours’ community work, eight-month ban.

Mathieu Jean Poisson, 36, of Lake Hawea, 454mcg, Wanaka, July 8, fined $500, six-month ban.