Pande Yasa I Kadek, 26, an Indonesian worker employed by a local company, appeared in court to be sentenced on excess breath alcohol and reckless driving charges.
He had been was pulled over by police in December 2018, while on the way to a friend’s house in Nikao.
He was taken to the police station, where he returned a breathalyser result of 700mcg. He admitted having consumed alcohol.
Kadek had been observed by police driving a Honda Wave motorbike with no tail-lights and taking short cuts at both the Avarua and Avatiu roundabouts.
Through an interpreter, Kadek didn’t dispute the drink driving charge, but said he didn’t take a shortcut on one of the roundabouts.
He had earlier pleaded guilty – but both his lawyer Mark Short and Kadek’s employer raised concerns about police process and the long delay in sentencing.
Short said a lot of questions had remained unanswered by the police in this case.
“The whole process undermines the law,” Short said.
“He signed documents he didn’t understand as he speaks very limited English, and his employer was refused entry to see him while he was being held in custody.”
It was raining on the night of the offence and Kadek’s employer had asked to take some dry clothes to him, she also wanted to act as a support person so Kadek understood what was going on and the charges he was facing.
Short said that due to poor police process and because a conviction could be detrimental to the defendant’s future, his client be discharged without conviction. Any other decision would be appealed, he said.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Fairoa Tararo requested 12 months’ disqualification from driving and a fine, as well as a fine not exceeding $100 for the reckless driving charge.
Justice of the Peace Georgina Williams adjourned the court to assess the paper work and when sentencing, said she had considered all factors including that it was Kadek’s first appearance before the court, that he had expressed remorse for his actions and had co-operated with police.
But the court was in agreement with prosecution, she said and Kadek was not able to be discharged without conviction.
For the drink-driving charge Kadek was sentenced to 12 months’ disqualification from driving and fined $250 plus $50 court costs and for reckless driving was fined $50 plus court costs of $50. He was also required to surrender his driver’s licence.
Short said he would appeal. All convictions are on hold, pending the outcome of the appeal.