New Zealand Police v Tindall [2019] NZDC 6703

Published 26 February 2020

Sentencing — special plea — zero alcohol licence — excess blood alcohol — drink-driving — Criminal Procedure Act 2011, ss 45, 46 & 147 — Sentencing Act 2002, s 129. This was a sentencing decision in relation to drink-driving charges. The defendant had been charged with driving with excess breath alcohol and excess blood alcohol in the aggravated form (being a third or subsequent conviction for the same offence) and breaches of a zero alcohol licence also in the aggravated form. The defendant had successfully applied for a special plea for previous conviction under ss 45 and 46 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 to have one of the zero alcohol licence breaches dismissed. The Judge noted that the presence of that charge did not add anything to the overall sentence, but was an aggravating factor. Other aggravating factors were that the defendant's blood alcohol levels were almost twice the legal limit on one charge, and over two and a half times the legal limit on another, only 3 years had elapsed since the defendant's prior offending and the two prior offences were committed within a month of each other. Further, the defendant had offended while on bail, the most recent offending being committed while awaiting sentencing for the previous offending. The mitigating factors included the defendant's separation and limited contact with his children, his loss of employment and subsequent bankruptcy. The pre-sentence report indicated that the defendant was at high risk of re-offending. The Judge took a starting point of 2 years and 10 months' imprisonment, which included 4 months for breaching a protection order. The Judge discounted for an early guilty plea in relation to the charges of drink-driving (acknowledged by the Judge to be likely so that the defendant could apply for a special plea in relation to the zero alcohol licence), leaving an overall sentence of 2 years and 2 months' imprisonment. The Judge also ordered the defendant to pay reparation for medical expenses and analyst fees, and ordered the confiscation of the motor vehicle used in the offending. Judgment Date: 9 April 2019.