Magistrate hamstrung over drink-driving boater


Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe expressed surprise that he could not ban a man caught driving a boat after drinking two bottles of wine from going back on the water.

Michel Crockwell, 58, admitted operating a boat while impaired when he appeared in Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Crockwell, from Warwick, told the court: “I had two bottles of wine, I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Mr Wolffe, who fined Crockwell $750, said he was surprised that the offence did not require immediate disqualification.

He said: “So, you can be caught on the road drunk and get disqualified, but if you’re on water, you’re fine? Does that make sense to anyone?”

The court heard that officers on a police boat spotted Crockwell driving out of Hamilton Harbour without headlights and ordered him to dock at Barr’s Bay Park in the early hours of May 25.

They spoke to Crockwell and suspected he had been drinking, so arrested him on suspicion of operating a boat while impaired.

Police ordered Crockwell to give a sample of breath for analysis but he refused.

He said: “I know I’m going to jail. I’m not doing the test because it’s going to be the same result.”

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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