Shamed Queenstown drink-drivers queue up for sentencing

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A young Queenstown man has narrowly escaped prison thanks to appeals by his out-of-town parents.

Fraser Allan Soutar McEwan, 20, has instead been sentenced to four months’ home detention at his father’s Auckland home.

His father, who holds a prominent position in Auckland, cannot be named – nor can his occupation – due to a suppression order.

The same order applies for McEwan’s mother, who also lives out of town.

McEwan appeared in Queenstown District Court yesterday (Monday) for a string of offences – including assaulting a police officer, disorderly behaviour, breaching the liquor ban, driving while disqualified, breaching a sentence of intensive supervision and drink driving.

McEwan, a kitchen-hand who has four drink-driving convictions in as many years, pleaded guilty to all charges.

A late report tabled on the suitability of his father’s house for home detention saved McEwan from heading to jail, Judge Dominic Flatley says.

“I was going to sentence you to prison and grant you leave to apply for home detention.

“I kind of liked that proposal – it would really give you a bit of both sentences. I thought that would have had the desired effect. It would have given you a taste of inside – and if you don’t stop offending that’s precisely where you will be heading.

“Some might say I’m being too lenient on you. Some might say you should go straight inside for several months.

“But you are only 20 and you do have the support of your parents. You need to move away from Queenstown.”

On top of his home detention, McEwan must attend rehabilitative programmes, and is disqualified from driving for 16 months after his sentence. Ninety hours’ outstanding community work still applies. 

Drink-driver jailed a second time

An Arrowtown man has been jailed for a second time after his sixth drink-driving offence.

Waylon Laurance Jenkins, 29, has had excess breath-alcohol convictions stemming back to 1998 – his most recent was on June 12 when he blew 831 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath while driving on Malaghans Road.

Jenkins’ lawyer Phena Byrne told Queenstown District Court that her client’s case is a “sad” one because he lost a family member and is on the verge of bankruptcy – and has an “ongoing” alcohol problem.

Despite being jailed in 2009 for drink-driving, Judge Flatley says he doesn’t believe Jenkins is willing to undergo counselling in an attempt to change, so imposed a punitive sentence instead of a rehabilitative one.

Jenkins must still complete a drug and alcohol assessment as part of his sentencing conditions, and will be disqualified from driving for six months after prison.

Nipped in the Budd

Destination Queenstown marketing boss Graham Budd has been sentenced after pleading guilty to drink-driving.

Budd, 51, was driving home to his Thompson Street address when he was stopped randomly on Man St in the early hours of August 13. A breath test revealed a reading of 545mcg of alcohol per litre of breath.

Lawyer Phena Byrne told the court that this was Budd’s first offence and while “he acknowledges there is no excuse”, he was extremely remorseful.

Budd was fined $600 plus court costs of $133 and disqualified from driving for six months.

Teacher, SADD advocate sentenced

A former Wakatipu High advocate of anti-drink-driving has herself been convicted of the offence.

Queenstown early childhood teacher Anna Jayne Black, 25, pleaded guilty to drink-driving with a reading of 847mcg on July 29 after a night out with friends.

Black made the “foolish decision” to drive after realising she needed to get the car back to her mother, lawyer Phil Wilson says.

“This is entirely out of character, she grew up advocating the anti-drink-driving message through the student organisation Students Against Driving Drunk, when she was at Wakatipu High School,” Wilson says.

Black was fined $900 plus court costs and disqualified from driving for six months.

More drink-driving

A Wakatipu High student has been told that he could have killed someone after drink-driving with a shockingly-high level.

Ethan Lunn, 17, blew 940mcg after driving on Tweed St in Invercargill after drinking under-age at a party on July 30.

The court heard that Lunn was pressured into driving by mates.

Judge Flatley told Lunn: “You’re not responsible enough to be on the road so you can stay off it,” after fining him $400 plus court costs and disqualified from driving for 10 months.

Former Wakatipu High pupil Thomas Richard Brinsley has also been sentenced after drink-driving.

Brinsley, 23, was stopped at 4.22am on July 16 after attending a function at the Hilton Hotel. His blood sample was 106 milligrams per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal blood limit is 80mg.

Brinsley was fined $600 plus court costs, and $178 medical and analysts’ fees. He was disqualified for six months.