A teen with aspirations of becoming a police officer has been told by a judge he will have to put those dreams on hold after he got drunk and crashed the car he was driving, injuring one of his passengers.
Amit Singh Kooner, 19, was sentenced to 150 hours of community work, nine months of supervision and disqualified from driving for 15 months when he appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Monday, on a charge of driving with excess breath alcohol causing injury.
It was a charge that was laid following an incident on October 14, when Kooner was driving his BMW car on State Highway 26, from Hamilton to Morrinsville.
It was on a left hand bend, near the settlement of Eureka, where Kooner lost control of the vehicle. He crossed the centre line and took out a reflector pole on the opposite side of the road.
He hit the brakes, and made a sharp turn back to the correct side of the road, skidded and careened onto the grass verge.
The BMW finally came to a stop in a ditch, almost upside down.
Kooner, a male passenger in the front seat and a female passenger in the rear were all able to scramble out of the upturned vehicle.
The police arrived. Kooner was tested to see if he had been drinking. He returned a reading of 684 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath - well above the legal limit of 250 micrograms.
The female in the back seat suffered a cut above her left eye, which required stitches.
When Kooner was asked by the police why he chose to drive, he told them: "I can't recall driving".
In court on Monday, Kooner's counsel Glen Prentice said while the charge was a serious one, the injuries to the victim were minor and their effects not long-lasting.
Kooner also had no previous convictions for bad driving or any other kind of criminal behaviour.
"Mr Kooner has a desire to join the police force," Prentice said. "He is not going to be in a position to pursue that goal, at least not in the next few years."
Judge Paul Mabey QC agreed, and told Kooner that while "there might come a time when you can satisfy the threshold of requirements to join the police", that time would not be soon.
However, he was pleased to read in a pre-sentence report that Kooner was motivated to make something of his life and contribute constructively to society.
"It's a pretty positive report. You are genuinely remorseful."
However, there was no way Kooner should think of his misdeeds as a minor offence.
"Many deaths on the roads are brought about by intoxicated drivers," Judge Mabey said.
"If your passenger had been killed, the start point [for sentencing] would have been prison.
"If someone had suffered a serious injury, the start point would have been prison."