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Drug convictions quashed for member of prominent wine-making family

A member of one of the country's most prominent wine-making families has had six convictions for importing drugs quashed.

A High Court judge ruled the convictions would unfairly damage Joseph Babich's future, who imported the drugs in February last year.

Joseph Peter Babich, 51, had been convicted in the District Court on charges of importing cocaine and methamphetamine - both class A drugs, as well as the class C drug, ketamine.

But in the High Court, Justice Simon France discharged Mr Babich without conviction.

The judge says Mr Babich had been attending drug programmes and getting more involved in community activities.

He had been offered work in the wine industry but that could be a problem if he had convictions and was unable to travel overseas.

Justice France says the consequences of a conviction would be out of proportion to the offending which involved relatively small amounts of drugs.

Babich Wines is one of New Zealand's largest family owned wineries and is based in Henderson.

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