A former Tauranga doctor convicted of drink-driving has her bid for a rehearing granted after what is described as a ‘district court blunder’.
Lisa Edwards was convicted of drink-driving last year after being charged by police in 2010.
Doctor Lisa Edwards rushes to a waiting car after being convicted of drink driving in Tauranga District Court last year.
She was breathalysed while driving home from a bar on July 30, 2010, recording 876 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath - more than double the legal adult breath alcohol limit.
During a defended hearing last year, Lisa argued the test results were flawed and that she had been refused the right to talk to a lawyer of her choice and was also not given the required 10 minute waiting period to consider the option of having a blood test done. This is required under section 70A of the Land Transport Act.
Lisa’s argument was thrown out and she was convicted on the charge, disqualified from driving for six months and fined $900 plus court costs.
During a subsequent High Court and Court of Appeal battle, it was discovered that the evidence used to convict Lisa was never recorded in the Tauranga District Court.
At an appearance in Tauranga District Court on Wednesday, Lisa was granted a rehearing after she appealed the conviction. The rehearing is scheduled for October 2.
Bill Nabney says his client earns about 81 per cent of her income carrying out locum work offshore, mainly in Australia.
A drink driving conviction will not stop her entering Australia, but Bill argues it will reduce her chances of being hired.
“She can get registered, but when going for a position, it’s less likely if she has this conviction.
“It will make placement difficult, if not impossible,” Nabney told the court.
Judge Bidois told Edwards that her position as a doctor clearly illustrated she was intelligent, hardworking and was an achiever.
“But in your case, as a doctor, it would have been well known a drink driving conviction would have far reaching consequences,” he says.
“For you to have driven on this particular night was a mistake. It was a serious error in judgement.”
Lisa was caught drink driving while trying to travel from a Mount Maunganui bar to her home across the bridge in central Tauranga.
“This was not a case of driving a short distance. The gravity is therefore high.”
Judge Bidois says Lisa’s case is no different to a truck driver who may get caught drink driving.
“A truck driver is just as important as a doctor. It’s just a matter of a degree.”