17 Oct 2011

Lawyer who tried to fool breath test fined $4000

8:18 pm on 17 October 2011

A West Coast criminal lawyer who tried to beat a drink-driving conviction has been fined $4000.

Douglas Taffs, 58, was sentenced in the Nelson District Court on Monday for drink-driving and one charge each of failing to remain for a breath test and obstructing police.

In March this year, the Westport-based barrister was pulled over in his car and taken to the Westport police station.

After being left alone in a breath-testing room, he was later caught trying to escape over the police station's back fence and, once brought back, removed the breathalyser's power cord and hid it in a drawer.

Taffs then tried the urban myth of putting coins in his mouth to try to sabotage the machine's reading.

Taffs said in a letter of apology to police that he had behaved like a prat and was remorseful.

It is his third conviction in 30 years for drink-driving.

Judge Grace said the case would affect Taffs' dealings with police on the West Coast, although there was still support there for him.