Drink- driver sentenced to 15-months - five times over the limit

A TAMWORTH man who ran motorists off the road after he got behind the wheel at more than five times the legal limit has failed in his bid to avoid jail.

Tourist bus operators and motorists called police to report Christopher Andrew McConnachie because of his erratic and dangerous driving late last year, Tamworth Local Court heard this week.

Solicitor Jason Curtis acknowledged his client’s late plea of guilty to high-range drink-driving and driving with an expired licence.

“This is a man who has a significant problem with alcohol,” he said.

Mr Curtis said it was a serious offence that warranted a term of imprisonment but argued it should be suspended to help his client get rehabilitation.

The court heard McConnachie, who was supported by a number of family members in court, had two prior drink- driving offences to his name and this was his second high-range charge.

When McConnachie was stopped by police he recorded a blood alcohol reading of 0.253 – more thanfive times the legal driving limit.

“It was members of the community that contacted police,” Magistrate Michael Holmes said of “the extremely high reading. The citizens of Tamworth need to be protected,” he said.

After taking several factors into account including the need for rehabilitation, Mr Holmes said it “was truly a difficult case to consider”.

“It’s fortunate that you didn’t kill yourself or someone else or a number of people,” he said in sentencing.

“I have an obligation to ensure the community is protected.”

McConnachie was sentenced to 15 months in prison with a six-month non- parole period.

He was also disqualified from driving for three years.

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