A man who drove with an alcohol level more than four times the legal limit would be "approaching a record in this country", the Invercargill District Court was told yesterday.
Aaron Jason Leask, 39, fisherman, of Stewart Island, appeared before Judge Michael Turner for driving carelessly and with a blood alcohol level of 340mg at Halfmoon Bay on January 1.
Judge Turner said Leask would be approaching a record in New Zealand.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Grant Gerken said it was the highest alcohol level he had seen in more than 22 years, with 340mg equating to about 1700mcg, he said. The legal blood alcohol level for drivers aged over 20 years old is 80mg and the legal breath alcohol level is 400mcg.
Gerken said that on January 1 police were conducting a licensed premises check at the South Sea Hotel at Halfmoon Bay when Leask, who had been drinking at the hotel, walked out to his vehicle, got in and started it.
He mounted the kerb and crashed into a nearby wooden bollard, causing the vehicle to come to a complete halt, he said. The incident was witnessed by police who approached Leask while he was still in the driver's seat.
Leask immediately denied driving but as police helped him out of the vehicle it was noticed he was affected by alcohol and he said he was over the limit, Gerken said.
Judge Turner yesterday asked Leask if he had an alcohol problem but he said no. Judge Turner remanded him on bail to April 12 for sentence and made an order confiscating his vehicle.