B.C. premier fined for drunk driving

B.C. premier fined $1,350 for drunk driving, ordered to undergo alcohol assessment

British Columbia's premier was fined $913 US (about $1,350 Cdn) Monday after pleading no contest to a drunk driving charge in Hawaii.

Gordon Campbell was not in the court for the hearing. He was represented by a lawyer, who paid the penalty on his behalf.

"Mr. Campbell is sufficiently embarrassed and ashamed for what he did, as well he should be," said Maui District Judge Reinette Cooper.

The premier was also ordered to take part in a 14-hour substance abuse program, and undergo an assessment for alcoholism. His lawyer said Campbell has already completed both in Canada.

Maui police arrested Campbell Jan. 10 as he returned from the home of friends. They said he was speeding and swerving on the highway. Campbell's blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, according to court records.

Speaking in Victoria Monday afternoon, Campbell said he'll live with the consequences of his drunk driving conviction for the rest of his life.

"Personally it was a horrible experience to go through," he told reporters.

"The most important thing for everyone is simply not to drink and drive," the premier added. "I think that's the major lesson in this for everyone."

Although he doesn't believe he has a substance-abuse problem, Campbell said he plans to stick to a recent pledge never to drink alcohol again. The premier hasn't got behind the wheel of a vehicle since January, and is waiting to hear whether his B.C. driver's licence will be suspended for a year.