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‘Your EBA is quite possibly the highest I have ever seen’: JP

Thursday 25 May 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, National

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‘Your EBA is quite possibly the highest I have ever seen’: JP

A motorist who blew a record 1730 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath – nearly seven times the legal limit – has been disqualified from driving for 18 months and fined $1050.

As Tearii Amarua Francois Rangimakea, 68, stood in the dock at the Criminal Court on Wednesday charged with excess breath alcohol and dangerous driving, Justice of the Peace John Whitta said it was quite possibly the highest alcohol reading he had seen.

The summary of facts showed Rangimakea was sighted by two off duty police officers riding his motorcycle in a dangerous manner on April 14.

The police officers, following behind, stopped and questioned Rangimakea before taking his keys off him when they smelled alcohol.

He was then taken by police to the station where a breath test showed 1730 mcg.

It was Rangimakea’s first appearance before the courts, but the aggravating feature was the “extremely high and unacceptable” level of alcohol in his system.

Rangimakea apologised to the court when JP Whitta asked him if he wanted to say anything.

JP Whitta then adjourned the matter so he could come back with a sentence.

When he returned, JP Whitta said Rangimakea had expressed remorse, but had not offered an explanation.

Police wanted him held accountable for a “very high reading and dangerous driving”.

“They acknowledge this is your first appearance, you apologised; your EBA is quite possibly the highest I have ever seen.

“It is very disappointing that you drove home; when you did drive home, you were a very real risk to yourself and others.

“You only made it home through good luck, not good judgement.” 

JP Whitta said fines did not keep people safe, but driving disqualifications did.

“Your offending was very serious; it was a puzzle to us.”

In considering the EBA charge, the starting point was a $900 fine with a 25 per cent discount bringing it to $675.

The disqualification starting point was two years with a 25 per cent discount taking it to 18 months.

For the dangerous driving, a starting point of a $500 fine was adopted, with a 25 per cent discount, taking it to $375. 

The total fines were $1050 and the total disqualification period was 18 months.