Bay of Plenty police officer convicted of drink driving after crash is ‘deeply regretful’ – lawyer

The lawyer for a Bay of Plenty cop convicted after crashing a police car while drink driving on duty says the officer apologises to the public and his colleagues.

Andrew Rush, 38, admitted two driving offences in the Whakatāne District Court yesterday following the incident in Edgecumbe earlier this month.

He pleaded guilty to one count each of careless driving and driving with excess breath alcohol.

The charges follow a single-vehicle crash involving a police vehicle at the corner of Otakiri Rd and Main St, Edgecumbe, at 8.30 pm on April 6 this year.

Rush’s breath alcohol reading was 1204 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath – nearly five times the adult legal limit of 250 mcgs.

The court confirmed Rush did not seek name suppression.

In a written statement sent to NZME tonight, Rush’s lawyer David Pawson said his client regretted his actions deeply.

“Andrew apologises to the public and his colleagues in the New Zealand Police.

“He has been suffering from a post-traumatic stress injury which rapidly developed into
severe depression and alcoholism,” Pawson said.

“Andrew is deeply regretful for what he has done and immediately accepted
responsibility for his actions.”

Pawson said that “no one was immune to human frailties” and with the court matter concluded, asked that Rush be “left alone to focus on his rehabilitation”.

“His employment situation is a separate matter to which no comment is made.”

In a statement today Bay of Plenty district commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said the officer was convicted and sentenced to six months’ disqualification, a $1000 fine and $2013 in reparation.

The on-duty officer was the sole occupant of the police vehicle and was not injured in the crash, McGregor said.

The public rightly expects high standards from police staff, he said.

“We set high professional standards for ourselves and demand integrity from our staff, in terms of judgment, choices and actions.

“The vast majority of our staff act in accordance with police’s values.”

The officer has been stood down. Police have initiated an employment process and said the organisation was unable comment further on the matter.

– Additional reporting Whakatane Beacon

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