WHEN Jeffery Scott Griffiths was stopped by police at 2am for a random breath test he was so drunk they said he had trouble standing unaided.
Griffiths, 50, of Lords Place, later returned a high-range blood alcohol reading of .235, a reading Orange magistrate Terry Lucas said was a historic level.
“That’s one of the highest I've seen - not since the 1980s have I seen one that high,” Mr Lucas said on Thursday when sentencing Griffiths in Orange Local Court.
In offering an explanation to the court for his client's behaviour, solicitor Peter Ringbauer said Griffiths had battled for many years with drug and alcohol addiction and at the height of his dependence on alcohol was consuming up to 43 drinks a day.
That dependence had led to Griffiths being charged with high-range drink-driving on five previous occasions. He had also been convicted for driving unlicenced and was unlicenced when stopped by Orange police.
“Don't have one. Never have,” police said was Griffiths’ reply when asked to produce one. They described him as having blood-shot eyes and slurred speech.
Arguing his client was responding well to the Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) program, Mr Ringbauer said his client's rehabilitation prospects were strong and he was making an effort to get his life on track.
Mr Ringbauer said the licensed premises that served Griffiths prior to his arrest should be accountable, although the premises was not named in court and the police facts did not reveal where he had been drinking, only that he had his last drink about 10 minutes before police pulled him over.
“I don't know how he got to such a high level,” Mr Ringbauer said.
He told the court his client had originally gone to his vehicle and intended to sleep there, but due to his level of intoxication turned the key in the ignition.
Asking the court for a non-custodial sentence, Mr Ringbauer said his client had significant family and health issues and deaths in the family had contributed to his alcohol dependence.
He said his client was a polite and co-operative man and although he had a poor record, he had not been drinking since this latest arrest and was progressing well with the support of agencies such as MERIT.
Mr Lucas ordered Griffiths to perform 200 hours of community service and warned him he would find himself behind bars if he returned to court