How about a permanent ankle bracelet?

May 31st, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

One of New Zealand’s most dangerous drivers has just clocked up his 26th drink-driving conviction.

When – who is already banned from driving indefinitely – was stopped in Napier last month, his breath test recorded 1198 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, almost three times the legal limit of 400mcg.

It was the seventh time the 44-year-old Hastings man had blown more than 1000mcg, and the 31st time he had been caught driving while disqualified.

Appearing in Napier District Court yesterday, he pleaded guilty to drink-driving and driving while disqualified. Judge Tony Adeane requested a probation report and remanded Laing in custody until July for sentencing.

In 2010, Laing was jailed for two years and six months for drink-driving, refusing to give blood, assault and dangerous driving causing injury. He was also indefinitely disqualified from holding a driver’s licence.

It is a minor miracle Laing has not killed someone yet, but it is only a matter of time.

I’m tempted to say he should be given the maximum sentence but it is only two years jail, or five years if he causes injury.

The problem is he then gets out, and maybe drives drunk a few dozen more times until he is caught again.

What *might* work is if he could be sentenced to wear an ankle bracelet with GPS, that would immediately alert Police if his speed is more than say 20 km/hr indicating he must be in a vehicle. They can then intercept the vehicle and arrest him if he is the driver. Knowing that they will know if he is in a vehicle, may actually discourage him from as certainty of being caught is a major deterrent.

If someone else is driving, then that is fine. But it doesn’t sound like he is someone who gets others to drive him often.

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33 Responses to “How about a permanent ankle bracelet?”

  1. tvb (3,948 comments) says:

    There are a number of recidivist drink drivers and bad drivers generally. It would be useful to know what % of driver offences these people are overall. Of course we can have lifetime bans on driving etc but that will not stop them. If this recidivist group form a significant percentage of offenders then stern measures may be justified.

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  2. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    That’s not how ankle bracelets work. They transmit a short distance to a receiver which is connected to a phone line.

    Also, imagine being on that guy’s bus.

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  3. Northland Wahine (554 comments) says:

    Pity there idn’t some chemical that he has to take in the form of a pill every day, that makes him violently ill every time he partakes in alcohol.

    Would sober him up.

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  4. david (2,483 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t be very happy if a policeman was tasked with watching a GPS read out 24/7 to determine if this guy was cruising downhhill on a bicycle. I suspect that it would be a major exercise to set up an automated system that alerted police only under specific circumstances and that someone would get mightily pissed off after a bunch of alerts proved to be “false positives” in that he was a passenger in a bus, on a boat, in someone else’s car, on a bike, in a plane, skiing, kite surfing or sand yachting to name a few.

    Oh well dpf, nice thought but back to the drawing board. I must say Northland Wahine may have the germ of an idea.

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  5. Martin Gibson (206 comments) says:

    This guy is a recidivist alcoholic, like so many of the people who clog up our justice system.

    A good mate of mine is an intelligent insightful alcoholic who is in the contemplative phase — where he understands that the booze is killing him and is suddenly interested in choosing life.

    He went to see the DHB’s addiction treatment centre and basically got screened to see if he was going to kill anyone or beat his wife, then got an appointment to see a pyschologist in a month.

    People who are in that frame of mind are the only ones worth treating, and when they are it is important they get treatment immediately before they change their mind, as they inevitably will and have to go right back through the cycle — plenty of time to rack up another DIC. We could save a whole lot of money, although the revenue from our boozing culture keeps Working for Families and Whanau Ora funded.

    Like all addicitons it is better treated as a medical problem as well as a legal one (if not instead of a legal one).

    This is an old article, but I recently sent it to Peter Dunne to have a look at, and people interested in alternative treatments for addiction might enjoy it.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/may/09/alcoholism-health-doctor-addiction-drug

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  6. hmmokrightitis (1,458 comments) says:

    What Graeme said – and if hes in a car with someone else driving?

    Not a workable solution. What is workable is having an anti drive device fitted to his car, so that he has to submit to a breath test in the car if he wants to drive. Been using them in some states in the US for years. And a special licence that does not allow him to rent cars etc. And a change in legislation to the effect that if anyone lends him a car, the car if seized and crushed by the crown.

    For the small number of recidivist drivers who do this, we need to get bloody serious.

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  7. Than (376 comments) says:

    The problem with an ankle bracelet is it will take up a considerable amount of police time. The reality of our society is that you have to use a vehicle several times a day to get around, and it doesn’t seem practical for police to check every time this guy goes somewhere.

    IMO the best approach is to try and deny him access to a vehicle. Ban him from owning a car (if he isn’t already), and introduce penalties for others who let him use theirs.

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  8. wreck1080 (3,533 comments) says:

    cops will be chasing a lot of buses and taxis then.

    just goes to show we don’t treat such crimes seriously.

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  9. Martin Gibson (206 comments) says:

    Northern Wahine: There is such a pill; it’s called Antabuse and I don’t know why it is not more frequently prescribed. I was talking to a young GP the other day and she had not even heard of it.

    It stops your body making the enzyme to digest alcohol — the one some Asians are deficient in so they go pink when they drink. It should be far more commonly used because it take willpower out of the equation as long as there is someone who makes sure the person has a pill every few days and doesn’t game it to sneak in drinks after a week without one.

    It means alcoholics can pass liquor stores without having to talk themselves out of going in and buying grog.

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  10. immigant (950 comments) says:

    @Northland Wahine

    There is a drug like that. I forget what it is called but it is prescribed to alcoholics who try to go sober.

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  11. MT_Tinman (2,795 comments) says:

    Hopefully this person is banned from driving for life.

    I agree the permanent bracelet thing is not a goer but someone had it right.

    Ban this person (and all like him) from owning a motorised vehicle and order any vehicle he is caught driving be immediately crushed (unless legitimately reported stolen).

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  12. Northland Wahine (554 comments) says:

    Problem solved Martin! Now to get the sod to take it!

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  13. kowtow (6,734 comments) says:

    In 2010 he was sentenced to 2 years 6 months……..he should still be in gaol.Can you drink drive in prison? Not yet. There’s the answer. Proper sentencing and serving thereof. That would save a lot of lives in this country that seems in the grip of crim hugging, human rightist soft cocks.

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  14. graham (2,211 comments) says:

    And there’s your problem unfortunately, Northland Wahine.

    If this idiot, at 44, hasn’t grown up and started taking responsibility, I think it’s fair to say he never will. (Hell there’s a certain person we all know who’s over 60, and still won’t take responsibility). So expecting him to take the pill willingly is not gonna happen.

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  15. GPT1 (2,043 comments) says:

    EBA first and second is three months maximum, thereafter it is 2 years. In general that is, in my opinion, an appropriate deterrent sentence but there is a point where 2 years becomes to short. I would suggest that this guy is well and truly past it. I do wonder whether there should be a third step of, say, 5 years for 10th and subsequent – at that point deterrent sentences clearly have not worked and it’s a case of protecting the public for as long as realistically possible.

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  16. Fridge (1 comment) says:

    http://statements.cabinet.qld.gov.au/MMS/StatementDisplaySingle.aspx?id=68854 What would be ideal is a user (offender) pays policy like the use of alcohol interlockers. Used in Queensland: ‘New laws will see repeat drink drivers and those with excessive blood alcohol levels pay for the installation of alcohol interlockers in their vehicles to keep them off the road.’

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  17. Alan Johnstone (922 comments) says:

    You’re mostly missing the point there is no criminal sanction that can deter an addict from being an addict. you could have execution by slow disemboweling as the sanction, it wouldn’t deter.

    You can’t expect him to act in a rational fashion, there is no risk / reward calculation. Addicts minds don’t work that way.

    A life ban from all bars within 100kms of his home might be a good start, with serious sanctions for the bar owners if they don’t comply. It will not stop him from drinking of course, but it might just make him do it at home.

    Of course, the simplest, safest and cheapest solution is to give him an tax payer funded account at his local tax firm and to pay for his cabs. It might cost us a few hundred dollars a month. It may safe lives and it’d certainly be cash positive in terms of police and legal expenses. Will not happen because people aren’t really interested in solving the problem, they just have a visceral desire to punish him.

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  18. Martin Gibson (206 comments) says:

    Kowtow: this is how I visualise you:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6hnFhr8PK4

    Could also be this chap’s answer: “Can you walk?”

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  19. gazzmaniac (2,270 comments) says:

    It is a minor miracle Laing has not killed someone yet, but it is only a matter of time.

    What if he’s really good at driving while drunk, considering that he’s had lots of practise? Then it wouldn’t be a matter of time.

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  20. Martin Gibson (206 comments) says:

    gazzmaniac: “What if he’s really good at driving while drunk, considering that he’s had lots of practise? Then it wouldn’t be a matter of time.”

    Could be something in this. Perhaps part of the driving test could be doing laps of a track, drinking a can and a shot on each lap up til the cornering and reactions get too slow.

    Officer: “Well you are blowing 720, but I see you’re licenced to 900 under 55km/h. Well done, have a good evening.”

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  21. special k (7 comments) says:

    Go after the people that are providing guys like this with a vehicle:

    1) Disqualified drivers have to choose either to sell their car or have it impounded for the duration of their sentence. No one can own a car without a current driver’s license.
    2) When lending or selling a vehicle the owner must check that the person they are lending it to has a current license
    3) Failure to do 2) will lead to the vehicle’s seller/owner being charged as accessory to whatever crime the driver is subsequently charged with

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  22. KevinH (1,129 comments) says:

    Prison is the only solution to this mans recidivism, eventually he will get it. For his next offence a lengthy spell of 5-7 years will do.

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  23. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    He could be the subject of an NZ on Air funded documentary series. I know of a Dutch-based production company that puts out derogatory pap like that and dresses it as NZ culture.

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  24. meh (164 comments) says:

    hmmokrightitis (441)
    May 31st, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Still not workable, he’s been disqualified indefinitely so he shouldn’t even own a car at all!

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  25. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    I’ve got a couple of old 13″ steel wheels off a Triumph 2000 that would make good permanent ankle bracelets for this chap…?

    Might have to flare out the centre holes a bit to get them on over his feet. Then weld them back up to prevent him slipping out of them..

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  26. Longknives (4,051 comments) says:

    Martin Gibson- Wasn’t that screeching hag Connor’s girlfriend at the start of that classic film?

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  27. Northland Wahine (554 comments) says:

    Knives… Wasn’t that his mother? He met his woman once he became immortal…

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  28. slijmbal (1,134 comments) says:

    On antabuse they can even install them in implants – Georgie Best tried it and it didn’t work

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2003/jul/17/thisweekssciencequestions

    From reading around the amount of alcohol required to hit 2.5 times the legal limit would probably have him puking his guts up – so it would be partially effective

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  29. Longknives (4,051 comments) says:

    Northland Wahine- Hmmm.. I am pretty sure he had a girlfriend in his home village who turned on him when he survived his wounds…. Heather came along a little later in the film.
    1986 was a long time ago! Still got the soundtrack though….

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  30. Northland Wahine (554 comments) says:

    Celia imrie played Kate mcleod … Clanswoman… So you maybe right?

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  31. Longknives (4,051 comments) says:

    01:36

    I dont think she is his mum!!!!

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  32. nasska (9,561 comments) says:

    As a recovering alcoholic I can testify that it would be a very keen drinker who would risk suffering the effects of combining ‘Antabuse’ & alcohol twice. I went down many paths before I managed to knock the grog on the head & one of these was ‘Disulfiram’ prescribed by my doctor. After taking the pill daily for about six weeks I managed to kid myself that I had the situation under control & it would be okay to limit myself to a couple of beers after work. To this end I stopped taking the pill & after three days thought we’d be okay.

    Wrong!! Not long after knocking the scab off my second quart bottle I developed a headache such that I’ve never experienced before. About the same time I became nauseous & spent the next hour or so vomiting until I was dry retching.

    As I was a true pisshead I gave up taking the pills instead of learning from the cockup.

    Martin Gibson has it pretty much right…..unless someone really wants to give up alcohol it’s highly likely that any treatment will succeed. He is also correct that the health system is not geared to intervene when the patient finally comes to his/her senses. Before treatment is available the self will has often collapsed.

    It is also fair to say that preventing drink driving amongst hardcore recidivist alkies will always be an uphill battle. By the time an alcoholic having a session on the piss has to go home or buy more supplies their judgement has completely gone out the window. They are incapable of making a rational judgement call on their ability to drive.

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  33. kune (1 comment) says:

    This guy is from a background of neglect, abuse and violence and in order to get attention he does this over and over. Yes he is an alcoholic and when he learns to get rid of his ghosts from the past and take responsibility for his actions and admits he is an alcoholic only then will life change for him.
    Otherwise nothing will change and he will remain an accident waiting to happen every time he gets released from prison.
    A continuous threat to society.
    An infinite home detention would be a better answer, instead of costing taxpayers money get him working to support himself in a programme where he will get monitored 24/7 along with the other criminals who are able to accommodate these criterias.

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