Man blames his wife for drink-drive smash

Thursday August 20, 2020 Written by Published in Crime

A 44-year-old father has been jailed for two months, for what the judge called a “poor decision”.

It was also a near-fatal decision.

Dominique Elisa did not usually drink alcohol – but on December 20 last year, he drank at a work function.

He later got behind the wheel of his vehicle and veered over the centre line, narrowly missing a family coming the other way, before colliding with a van and injuring its driver.

His blood alcohol tested at 246 milligrams – three times over the legal limit.

He was charged with excess blood alcohol and dangerous driving causing injury.

Crown prosecutor Metua Okotai said Elisa had made the decision to drink, he drove in a dangerous manner and narrowly missed a family in an oncoming vehicle and smashed into another vehicle.

Okotai sought a short prison sentence, and 12 months’ disqualification from driving.

Defence lawyer Keykore Ahsin said this was his client’s first offence, he’d had no prior convictions, and he did not usually consume alcohol.

He argued that Elisa was troubled by his wife at the time and this affected him psychologically and emotionally. On the day of the accident he was pushed to the limit, resulting in him attending the work function.

Ahsin said Elisa was a non-drinker and his friends were shocked to see him drinking that day.

Ahsin argued that a prison term would signal that the Chief Justice was sending a “non-drinker” to jail.

He said his client had chosen not to drink since 2010, but at that one time picked it up and he was deeply remorseful.

Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams said the victim impact report showed the van driver did not suffer from any serious injury, and Elisa had immediately apologised.

“You made a poor decision in December, not just to drink but you decided to drive,” he said.

For the excess blood alcohol, Elisa was ordered to pay $300 for blood report, $20 medical report and $50 court cost.

Chief Justice Williams said a short term of imprisonment was inevitable and sentenced him to two months in prison and to serve 12 months of probation upon his release.

Elisa is also disqualified from driving nor obtaining a driver’s license for the next three years.

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