Drunk driver can’t recall driving

File photo.

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." 

-Stuff/Mike Mather.


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