12 Feb 2020

Drink driving teen sings way out of conviction

12:10 pm on 12 February 2020

A university student who drove four times over the alcohol limit has received a discharge without conviction after writing a song in penance.

Wellington District Court.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Alexander David James Grant appeared in the Dunedin District Court this morning on one count of driving with a breath alcohol level of 1077mcg of alcohol per litre of breath.

The court heard the 18-year-old was pressured to drive by his friends to get food after a night drinking in August last year.

Grant was driving his grandmother's Nissan Sentra on 7 August when he was pulled over by the police in George St in North Dunedin, a summary of facts said.

After the roadside test showed he was over the limit he was taken to the Dunedin Central Police Station and the result showed more than four times the limit.

"When spoken to, the defendant admitted he had consumed approximately five standard drinks that night but gave no reason or excuse as to why he was driving," the summary said.

After completing the Right Track programme, which attempts to get young driving offenders to see the error of their ways, Grant's sentencing was delayed late last year to allow him to write a musical score to show what he had learned.

This morning he played the song for the court.

Judge Michael Turner described the song as "very, very impressive".

"You have exceeded my expectations. It's very impressive," the judge reiterated.

Listen to the song Choices by Alexander David James Grant who goes by XuzzDoc:

Defence lawyer Cate Andersen requested a discharge without conviction.

The police prosecutor - also moved by the song - agreed it was an appropriate case for discharge.

"I'm not minimising drink driving and I'm struggling to think when I last used that discretion for a charge of this nature," Judge Turner said.

The judge, who described Grant's actions on that August night as "very foolish", decided it would be "wrong in my view to mark your record".

"I have no doubt this was a one-off error in judgement where to some extent you were pressured to get behind the wheel and drive by your friends," the judge said.

"You have learnt your lesson."

Grant, who goes by the musical alias XuzzDoc, told the court the song was a "letter to myself" and would be made available to the Right Track programme for future use.

As he left the court after being discharged without conviction he told the judge: "Thank you very, very much sir".