What boss drank before blowing 0.227

 

A high-powered Nine Network news director has narrowly avoided being sent to jail after being convicted of drink-driving more than four times the legal limit.

Darren Wick was on Wednesday in the Hornsby Local Court sentenced to a nine-month intensive corrections order, banned from driving for nine months and ordered to undertake 100 hours of community service.

He pleaded guilty last year to one count of high-range drink-driving after being pulled over by police at Willoughby in October last year.

The court was told Wick, 58, needed help standing up and almost fell onto the road when he got out of his car to speak to officers.

Magistrate Robyn Denes said his offence was "worthy of a jail sentence"; however, she said Wick was better off serving it in the community by way of an intensive corrections order.

 

Channel 9 news chief Darren Wick pictured (right) arrives at Hornsby Local Court on Wednesday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw
Channel 9 news chief Darren Wick pictured (right) arrives at Hornsby Local Court on Wednesday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw

 

Wick later admitted that he arrived at court believing he could be sent to jail.

"I'm in a position where I do know better and I should have known better," Wick said outside court.

"But it comes down to I let an addiction to alcohol get out of control. I didn't respect it for what it was.

"I made a terrible mistake where I could have harmed others."

Wick also said he had no plans to give up his job as the Nine Network's director of news.

Ms Denes said that due to Wick's previous conviction for drink-driving it was "incomprehensible" that he would get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

Wick said he had since checked into the South Pacific Private rehabilitation facility at Curl Curl.

The court heard that Wick was in 2010 sentenced for mid-range drink-driving.

His lawyer John Sutton told the court that Wick was at times a functioning alcoholic and had turned to drinking to relieve stress.

Mr Sutton said that after two hip replacements and a torn Achilles tendon, Wick could no longer exercise to relieve stress and began drinking.

On the day, he drank over lunch before returning to the Nine offices where there was a going-away party for a colleague at which he continued to consume alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

Mr Sutton claimed that Wick was "incapable of making a sensible decision" at the time.

He also questioned why none of his colleagues at the Nine Network stopped him from driving, prompting a strong rebuke from Ms Denes.

"Who's going to stop him? Really, if you think of his role in management, who's going to stop him," she said.

Wick was ‘incapable of making a sensible decision’ at the time. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australian
Wick was ‘incapable of making a sensible decision’ at the time. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australian

According to a police facts sheet, despite appearing heavily affected by alcohol, Wick told police he consumed one beer and three glasses of white wine during a long lunch on October 16.

He came to the attention of officers about 6.25pm when they saw his black Jeep Grand Cherokee four-wheel-drive mount a footpath on Willoughby Road.

The vehicle again grazed the gutter while making a left-hand turn before Wick was pulled over on Penshurst Street.

Police said Wick was unsteady on his feet and needed support to stand or walk on several occasions.

When he was asked to exit his vehicle, Wick almost fell from the vehicle onto the road, according to police.

While speaking to officers, he had to hold onto a road sign to steady himself before he was put in the back of a police car and taken to Chatswood police station.

He later recorded a blood-alcohol reading of 0.227.

Wick told police he began drinking at 1pm but had his last drink three hours before he was pulled over by police.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph in October, Wick admitted to having an alcohol addiction and said he had checked himself into rehab.

He also apologised to Nine staff in an email that he sent after his arrest.

"Sadly, in a moment of unacceptable madness, I've let you down," Wick wrote.

"Last Friday evening, I stupidly jumped behind the wheel of my car drunk and attempted to drive home. I was pulled over by police in Willoughby and tested positive to high-range drink-driving, more than four times over the legal limit.

"I was subsequently charged and will soon face court to pay for my actions."

 

Originally published as What boss drank before blowing 0.227

Wick pleaded guilty to high-range drink-driving after being caught behind the wheel more than four times the limit. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw
Wick pleaded guilty to high-range drink-driving after being caught behind the wheel more than four times the limit. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw


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