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Letter of recommendation softens sentence

A man facing charges of drunk driving, breaching a protection order, and wilful damage is allowed to serve out a home detention sentence thanks to a letter of recommendation.

Supported by his mother in Masterton District Court last week, Leon White faced sentencing for driving with excess breath alcohol, breaking a protection order, and a later charge of wilful damage.

Defence counsel James Elliot said that there was a historical addiction in play.

“He takes responsibility, he doesn’t shy away from that.”

Judge Nicola Wills said that last year, White was stopped by police while driving in Masterton, where he blew 933 mcg of alcohol per litre of breath.

The legal drink-drive limit is 250 mcg of alcohol per litre of breath.

On the charge of contravening a protection order, Wills noted White had sent 28 messages to the victim.

“Your actions have caused her a lot of stress, and the messages were unwanted,” she said.

“She believes your behaviour has escalated, and she wants it to stop.”

Wills said that the later charge for damage related to White damaging ceramic pots at a shared property.

She noted White had attended Changeability and bridge programmes but said, “Those matters are a double-edged sword because you’ve attended but they haven’t resulted in a change of behaviour.”

Wills had a letter from a representative at the bridge programme, who vouched for White’s commitment during his time there.

“They call you an exemplary role model, and although you’ve relapsed, you remain highly motivated to change.”

Wills sentenced White to seven months of home detention and disqualified him from driving for one year and one day, after which he will be subject to a zero-alcohol license.

He was also ordered to pay reparations of $100 for the ceramic pots.

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