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Outrage over sportswoman let-off on drink-driving charge

Monday 4 Feb 2013 7:32 a.m.

There's outrage at a decision by a Gisborne judge to allow a sportswoman who was caught drink-driving to get off scott-free.

The woman - who's believed to be at an "exceptional level" in her sport - was found to be driving with a breath-alcohol level double the legal limit - but was discharged without conviction and granted permanent name suppression.

Students Against Drink Driving chief Anna Braidwood is disappointed by the decision - saying so many groups work hard to reduce the level of harm every year caused by drink-driving:

“To have a decision like this come out, we’re really concerned that there’s a potential message that in some circumstances or for some people the actions can be excused which is a really dangerous message to put out there.”

Ms Braidwood says the courts are clearly not being consistent - given the number of high-profile people who've recently been caught drink driving and have been convicted for it.

Queen's Counsel Nigel Hampton has also criticised the judge's decision, the New Zealand Herald reports.

“I would say it’s quite exceptional for a discharge without conviction to be granted in these circumstances,” he says.

He also could not understand why name suppression was granted, and gave examples of celebrities whose drink-driving convictions have not affected their careers.

RadioLIVE / 3 News

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