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Pensioner to serve probation for drunk driving

Thursday 27 October 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Court, Crime, National

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Pensioner to serve probation for drunk driving
PHOTO: ISTOCK

A pensioner will serve more than a year’s probation for crashing a rental car into a power pole.

Teremoana O Kaiura Iokaimo appeared before Justice of the Peace Tangi Taoro at the Criminal Court in Avarua on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to driving with excess blood alcohol and careless driving.

According to the summary of facts, read out in court, the incident occurred on May 22, 2022, when Iokaimo was driving a rental car near Tupapa.

He lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a power pole. He was subsequently blood-tested for alcohol content, and drew a reading of 259mcg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. The legal limit is 50mcg.

Senior sergeant Faiora Tararo said the police were seeking a period of 18 months’ probation, along with reparations for the blood test ($150), towage of the rental ($709), and fixing damage to the rental car (about $11,000) and the power pole (about $4900).

Tararo also said that the careless driving and EBA charges came with a mandatory period of being disqualified from driving of 12 months.

Defence counsel Norman George said his client would accept the sentence of probation, as well as the disqualification of driving and the reparations for the blood test and the towage. However, he said the reparation sought for the damage to the rental vehicle and power pole was excessive.

“Surely the power poles didn’t cost nearly $4900. In fact, these are old power poles would not have cost more than $300,” George told the Court.

George also said the reparation for the rental car would not have been as a high as $11,000.

“Those cars would have been well covered by insurance. In any case, my client is a pensioner and it would be like getting water out of a rock,” George told the Court.

George asked for the matters involving the reparations for the damaged power pole and rental vehicle be referred to the civil court, where a “true value can be determined”.

JP Taoro sentenced Iokaimo to 18 months’ probation, but discounted it to 12 months in light of it being his first offence and his early guilty plea.

The probation conditions include that Iokaimo is not allowed to purchase or consume alcohol or enter any licenced premises.

“This was a seriously high reading,” Taoro said.

She also disqualified Iokaimo from driving for 12 months, and ordered him to pay $709 for towing fees and $150 for the blood test.

She referred the matters of the reparations for the power pole and rental car to the Civil Court.