A REPEAT drink-driver’s lawyer has successfully argued for a rehabilitative sentence to stop the woman ‘‘destroying herself’’.
At Tracie Lianne Barrett’s (59) sentencing in the Alexandra District Court last week on dangerous driving and drink-driving charges, counsel Kieran Tohill said she was a person of ‘‘significant intelligence’’ who had worked as a journalist in many parts of the world.
Her alcohol addiction was a direct result of historical trauma, for which she was having counselling and taking medication.
‘‘For a long time, she resorted to alcohol as a form of selftreatment, and we clearly see the results of that in her present offending and previous record,’’ Mr Tohill said.
Barrett, a former Central Otago News and Otago Daily Times reporter in Alexandra, was driving in Rockdale Rd, Invercargill, about 2.35pm on September 5 last year when she failed to stop at an intersection with Gorge Rd-Invercargill Highway and crossed the path of a Fulton Hogan ute and trailer that had the right of way.
The ute, carrying two employees, could not avoid her vehicle and struck its left rear, causing it to roll on to its side.
The police summary of facts said the defendant disregarded stop signs at the intersection and two warning signs before it.
A primary school on one corner meant there were also ‘‘school ahead’’ and ‘‘school zone’’ signs before the intersection.
The defendant, who told police she could not remember the crash, was taken to Southland Hospital for assessment, where a blood sample gave an alcohol level of 225mg — more than four times the legal limit.
She admitted the charges at a hearing in November and was convicted.
It is not her first drinkdriving offence; she was convicted in May 2021 of driving with a blood-alcohol level of 254mg, and given an alcohol interlock sentence.
Such a sentence is mandatory for repeat drink-drivers or those caught with very high breath or blood alcohol readings.
They require offenders to surrender their licence, apply for the interlock licence and get the device fitted to their car.
However, it emerged at a hearing in January that a clerical error after Barrett’s 2021 sentencing meant her licence was not cancelled.
At last week’s hearing, Mr Tohill said the defendant made inquiries about the status of her licence afterwards, and was told on two occasions she could get her full licence back.
He asked Judge Quentin Hix to endorse a pre-sentence report’s recommendation of a period of supervision to support the rehabilitation process Barrett had already begun.
‘‘I would implore the court to take that option, because it has the effect of stopping her essentially destroying herself.’’
Judge Hix told Barrett the report was interesting for its description of her diverse working experiences, extensive travel and a friend’s characterisation of her as ‘‘resilient’’.
His impression was her offending had been a reaction to significant personal stresses rather than an ongoing pattern of behaviour.
He sentenced her to 12 months’ intensive supervision, and urged her to promptly apply for an alcohol interlock licence. She must pay a blood analysis fee of $111.99.
Also convicted by Judge Hix last week were.—
Sharlene Rose Parkinson
(45), of Cromwell, disqualified driving, Shortcut Rd, October 22, 15 months’ intensive supervision.
Cole Rodney Wells (37), contractor, of Roxburgh East, injuring with intent to injure, November 5, Roxburgh, $1000 reparation for emotional harm, 12 months’ supervision.
Joshua Aaron Salvador Edwards (33), of Alexandra, assaulting a child, October 19, 2018; assaulting a child, November 29, 2021, 12 months’ judicially monitored intensive supervision.
Anton Simon Brooker French (46), of Cromwell, assault, possessing an offensive weapon (knife), August 13, 12 months’ intensive supervision.