Mon. Sep 26th, 2022


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Wanaka drink driver ‘overcome with grief’ at Diego Maradona death

1 min read

A Wanaka restaurateur who drowned his sorrows at the death of football legend Diego Maradona scored an own goal when police caught him drink-driving.

Abhishek Saklani, an owner of The Spice Room restaurant in the Otago township, admitted drink-driving with a breath-alcohol level of 1204mcg when he appeared in the Queenstown District Court today.

Saklani, 42, was stopped at a police checkpoint in the town on November 26.

His lawyer, Tanya Surrey, said the defendant was overcome with grief by the death of Maradona, his boyhood hero, and “went overboard with the whiskies”.

The Argentinian footballing great died on November 25, aged 60, after suffering a heart attack.

Prosecuting Sergeant Ian Collin said it appeared the defendant “drank like [Northern Ireland footballer] George Best” to commiserate Maradona’s death.

Saklani, who told Judge McLeod “there’s nobody more disappointed than I am” about his offending, asked for a community work sentence rather than a fine so he could atone for his behaviour.

Judge McLeod said she was concerned his family had been in the car with him, putting them at risk.

Saklani was convicted and sentenced to 100 hours’ community work.

He was disqualified for 28 days, after which alcohol interlock and zero-alcohol licence provisions apply.

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