Man jailed after 10th drink-drive conviction

A 66-year-old has been jailed for eight months after clocking up his tenth conviction for driving drunk. 

Misa Patu, from Samoa, was sentenced at the Waitakere District Court after being charged with careless driving and driving with excess breath alcohol.

The court heard Mr Patu tried to overtake a parked car and ran in to an oncoming car in March, causing $5000 worth of damage and leaving the other driver with chest injuries.

He blew 648 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, almost three times the legal limit. 

Judge Kevin Glubb described the alcohol reading as "moderate" and gave Patu credit for his early guilty plea and the fact that his last conviction was in 2007.  

Patu's lawyer argud his client no longer had access to a vehicle and given his age and health issues, home detention was the most appropriate sentence. 

However, Judge Glubb said given Patu already had nine previous convictions for drunk-driving, and three for careless driving, there was a need to send a message of deterrence.

"You have continued to drive drunk and cause immeasurable risk to the community. That must stop."

Patu was sentenced to eight months prison, but Judge Glubb indicated special release conditions would be made available at six months. 

The defendant's son told Newshub his father had struggled for years with alcohol, and they were doing all they could to get him the help he needed. He said it was fortunate Patu wasn't given a harsher sentence.