Meth, drink-driving charges for NZ lawyers

by Hannah Norton17 Aug 2015
A New Zealand lawyer who claims he used methamphetamine because a client told him it would stabilise his blood sugars has been convicted and fined on a number of drug-related charges.

Prominent Wellington barrister Keith Jefferies was charged last year after a police raid unearthed drugs in his office, house and car.

The 67-year-old initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, which included two charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of BK-MDMA, possession of utensils for methamphetamine use and possession of a psychoactive substance.

But, appearing the Wellington District Court on Friday, Jefferies changed his plea to guilty.

His request for a discharge without conviction was denied, and he was fined $1000.

Wellington District Court judge David Ruth said the explanation that Jefferies began to use methamphetamine because a client told him it would stabilise blood sugars did not sit well with him.

"That would suggest he was a stupid man…..and he does not strike me as a stupid man," the judge said.

Judge Ruth told Jefferies the conviction could have consequences for his Law Society membership.

His conviction comes only days after a lawyer appeared in Auckland District Court on methamphetamine-related charges.

Meanwhile, a leading Christchurch facing a drink driving charge had her case transferred to Auckland, Stuff has reported.

Deputy Public Defender Bridget Ayrey blew 650mcg of alcohol per litre of breath last November, when the legal limit was still 400mcg.

The charge was meant to be called in the Christchurch District Court in December last year, but it was transferred to the Auckland District Court, where she appeared before a Community Magistrate on November 24.

Ayrey pleaded guilty, received a $600 fine and was disqualified from driving for six months.

In a statement Public Defence Service director Madeleine Laracy said Ayrey had told the Ministry of the offence as soon as practicable and before she appeared in court.

"Ms Ayrey subsequently advised the Ministry that she had applied for the matter to be transferred to Auckland. Transfers can be ordered by a judge when individuals are known to judges in a particular area," she said.