Judges need to harden up

If we can get done for one kilometer over the speed limit, why is a doctor getting away with being four times over the drink driving limit?

A doctor living in Blenheim has been discharged without conviction after she was caught drink-driving at more than four times the legal limit.

Wendy Louise McDonald Florence, 50, appeared in the Blenheim District Court for sentencing on the charge last Monday, after driving with a blood-alcohol level of 326 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood on September 8.

The legal limit at the time was 80mg, and is now 50mg.

Her lawyer Rob Harrison argued for a discharge without conviction on her behalf.

Florence was a qualified doctor in the United States, but had spent some time as a stay-at-home mother of her children in Blenheim, he said.

She intended to become a registered doctor in New Zealand, which would require a refresher course in the States, followed by a supervised training programme in New Zealand.

Harrison told the court his client had been a sober alcoholic for 10 years.

Bulldust.  There’s a lie in court right there.   The odds of a alcie going off the wagon for the first time, that spectacularly and getting caught drink driving are minuscule.   

“If she has a conviction that’s a double whammy because if she gets back into the United States and gets her licence there, and then comes back to New Zealand [she] has to apply again here.”

If convicted, Florence would have to disclose the conviction to the medical council she was applying for a licence from, on top of her alcohol addiction, he said.

Medical Council of New Zealand communications manager George Symmes said a conviction would not necessarily stop a person being able to become a registered doctor in New Zealand.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Graham Single argued against a discharge without conviction.

Speaking to the Express on Wednesday, Single said the outcome was effectively “hiding” the offending from any medical council.

“[A conviction] doesn’t necessarily mean she can’t be a doctor . . . it [would] become harder for her because [medical councils] need to know you’re a sober and fit person to be a doctor.”

“If you give a discharge without conviction . . . the effect that has is that [Florence] can go to the medical profession and they say ‘do you have any convictions?’ and she can rightly stand up and say ‘no I don’t’.”

It’s all a lie.

And to be fair, she is going to be an alcoholic doctor with a drink driving conviction.  Wendy Louise McDonald Florence may not “have to” disclose it, but when she comes to the.

Is there anything else that you know of that may be relevant to your application / request to become a doctor

She’s going to have to lie.

Of course, Google won’t let Wendy Louise McDonald Florence off.

At least she didn’t get name suppression.

 

 

 


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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.

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