At least he’s having a go, eh?

This unique defence has been wasting public and court resources for some time

Police have successfully appealed after a drink-driver had his case dismissed because he was too drunk when he rejected having a lawyer.

Darin John Buck had a charge of driving with excess breath alcohol dismissed in February by Judge Peter Butler.

Buck’s unusual defence was based on being so drunk that not only was he unable to drive, he was unable to understand the legal process.

He failed an initial breath test after being stopped on State Highway 2, Upper Hutt, in January 2013. He was taken to the police station where he spoke to a lawyer on the phone but could not deliver enough breath to do the second breath test.

A blood test was proposed so Buck said he wanted to consult a lawyer again, in accordance with his rights, but this time he could not get a lawyer on the phone.

He rang three lawyers but none answered.

Buck then told police to just “get on with it”, waiving his right to a lawyer.

Sometimes I despair when judges make rulings.  Don’t they think ahead?   It set the precedent that if you were sufficiently drunk, you aren’t responsible for your decision making.   Any idea where that would have ended up?  

Judge Butler said the difficulty was that Buck was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 245mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood when he said “Let’s get on with it”.

The legal limit was 80mg of alcohol.

The judge said the Court of Appeal had ruled that someone waiving the right to a lawyer had to do so “voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently”.

“In my view, a man with three times the blood-alcohol level for legal driving is not capable of an intelligent assessment as to what a waiver is or that what he is waiving in the circumstances and, in my view, that renders a fatal blow to the prosecution case.”

The judge dismissed the case.

If that’s the case, people should just tank up before murdering someone, or doing a service station robbery.

But the cops wouldn’t wear that, and had to push for the decision to be reviewed.

But police appealed to the High Court.

Justice Denis Clifford said the evidence showed Buck did understand his rights – he had chosen and spoken to a lawyer already that night.

“In those circumstances, and as the police argue, there is no reason in my view to question that, when Mr Buck said ‘let’s get on with it’, that is what he meant.”

Justice Clifford allowed the police appeal.

He did not enter a conviction but sent the case back to the District Court for rehearing.

And so, even more resources and public money will get wasted by this idiot.   You were legless when you were driving you genius, stop using the courts vexatiously, have your lumps, and move on with your life.

Stop wasting our public money on trying to weasel out of the fact your life is a stuff up.

 

– Ian Steward, The Dominion Post


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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