Do we need preventive detention for repeat drink drivers?

April 20th, 2013 at 10:45 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

One of the country’s worst drink-drivers has been sent back to prison but has exposed the “pathetically weak” sentences available to judges.

Dean Murray Holder clocked up his 47th conviction yesterday for driving either drunk or disqualified. He was hit with the toughest sentence the judge could give him – 18 months in prison.

A drug and alcohol expert who works with repeat drink-drivers said extreme offenders such as Holden were worse than paedophiles and the law for dealing with them was “pathetically weak”.

Eventually a repeat drink driver will kill someone, so is there a case for preventive detention for them? Not after three strikes by say after 15?

If people are addicted to alcohol, that is fine (not fine, but only hurtung themselves). But take a bus or taxi. There is no excuse to drive drunk hundreds and hundreds of times.

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15 Responses to “Do we need preventive detention for repeat drink drivers?”

  1. kowtow (7,864 comments) says:

    Addiction my arse.

    Simple self indulgence and lack of discipline.

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  2. Longknives (4,624 comments) says:

    Yes.

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  3. laworder (273 comments) says:

    Yes, absolutely.

    I always though that drink driving over say 150 mcg should be a strike offence under the Three Strikes legislation. That way those that were just on or just over the limit would not be counted as strike offenders, but only those grossly intoxicated

    Perhaps we should have a multi level type sentencing system for this;
    First strike, fine, loss of licence for say 6 months and a referral to an alcohol treatment programme which if taken up results in a rebate of fine and/or reduction in loss of licence period upon completion
    Second strike, bigger fine, loss of licence 2 years plus you WILL go on a 6 month residential alcohol treatment programme, you will have NO choice in the matter. Absconding from it will result in jail
    Third strike permanent loss of licence, confiscation of all vehicles, bigger fine, two year residential alcohol treatment programme
    and maybe also a jail sentence. Abscond from that and you will serve 20-30 years
    Fourth strike 30 years or maybe life

    Regards
    Peter J
    see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  4. pidge (53 comments) says:

    How about a choice for the second and subsequent convictions – Jail term, or a course of Disulfiram and counseling? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disulfiram).

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  5. Michael (898 comments) says:

    Holder is in prison, but Gavin Hawthorn is getting out. He’s only killed 4 people with his drink driving.

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  6. Graeme Edgeler (3,273 comments) says:

    Eventually a repeat drink driver will kill someone…

    I’d want evidence on that, because it strikes me as unlikely to be true.

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  7. mandk (857 comments) says:

    @ Graeme Edgeler,
    Would you say the same thing if we were talking about someone who persistently went around in public spaces firing off a rifle?
    The only real difference between such a person and recidivist drunk driver is the choice of weapon.

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  8. laworder (273 comments) says:

    pidge wrote

    How about a choice for the second and subsequent convictions – Jail term, or a course of Disulfiram and counseling? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disulfiram).

    Yes, that suggestion has a lot of merit. There is also Naltrexone ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naltrexone ) which is a newer generation treatment and can be administered as an implant which may be easier to enforce than a daily dose type regime

    Whatever treatment is used there will need to be a strong element of complusion involved

    Graham Edgeler wrote


    Eventually a repeat drink driver will kill someone…

    I’d want evidence on that, because it strikes me as unlikely to be true.

    I cant believe I’m reading this. If a habitual drink driver doesn’t eventually kill someone, it is by pure good luck, and yes, I am aware of examples of this. We should all also be aware of the numerous counter-examples…..

    mandk’s response puts it brilliantly

    Regards
    Peter J
    see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  9. Nostalgia-NZ (4,989 comments) says:

    PeterJ I didn’t see the word ‘habitual’ until you entered it.

    Beside that there has to be a better way than spending over 3m to keep an offending driver locked up for 20 or so years. The question as always is statistics, there are probably a small amount in this category, maybe voluntary treatment or imprisonment? It’s another area where generally the ‘if you drink and….’ message is getting through. The ‘sallies’ island out in the gulf would have been a suitable place for the probable few who refused (declined) treatment.

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  10. Nostalgia-NZ (4,989 comments) says:

    In fact at the moment it could well be that ‘texting’ drivers are causing more carnage.

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  11. GPT1 (2,101 comments) says:

    It’s two years maximum for third and subsequent. There is case law that allows a circumlocution for cumulative sentences for dsq and EBA but that still only allows, with guilty pleas, around 36 months. There is a small cadre of shameless drink drivers and for them it is not so much about punishment as giving society a decent break from their activities. I would have a tenth and subsequent penalty of five years which would allow courts to impose a sentence that gives society a lengthy period safe dorm the defendant.

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  12. pq (728 comments) says:

    quote farrar

    A drug and alcohol expert who works with repeat drink-drivers said extreme offenders such as Holden were worse than paedophiles and the law for dealing with them was “pathetically weak”.

    Doug Sellman the mad zealot.
    name names Farrar be honest, the rest of your story is fanciful.

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  13. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    A drug and alcohol expert who works with repeat drink-drivers said extreme offenders such as Holden were worse than paedophiles and the law for dealing with them was “pathetically weak”.

    Worse than paedophiles?

    I guess that’s why you only get 12 months home-D for molesting a child. No punishment if you’re famous and your were drunk.

    NZ sentences are too weak all around.

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  14. Graeme Edgeler (3,273 comments) says:

    I cant believe I’m reading this. If a habitual drink driver doesn’t eventually kill someone, it is by pure good luck, and yes, I am aware of examples of this. We should all also be aware of the numerous counter-examples…..

    I’m serious. Please come up with a definition of habitual drunk driver (would six *convictions* for drunk driving be enough – if they’ve been caught six times, how many times must they have driven drunk and not been caught?).

    I will then make an OIA request about how many people with at least six (or whatever you come up with) convictions for drink driving have also got convictions for drink driving causing death and we will see if it’s over half, or even close.

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  15. asksum1thtknows (1 comment) says:

    how dare this person, who admittedly shouldn’t drink n drive, be attacked so viciously on the front page of the paper for family and friends to read, do the media not realise the effect that also has on others??? and as for being compared to a paedophile, what complete and utter rubbish! its pretty much like stating that journalist reporters such as whomever wrote this article, by attacking the person to the extent they did, is therefore as bad as a paedophile himself, as he has also hurt people by his comments and personal judgements…
    perhaps courts should look at the situation as it is, alcoholism is an illness, jail is not going to fix this, they should be looking at ways to solve the root of the problem.
    And to whom ever above wrote that it is not addiction.. what planet do you live on…. wake up to reality!

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