Farmer's after accident actions praised

Last updated 13:16 12/02/2014

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A Nelson man has been sentenced to community work for causing a car crash, but has also been commended for his actions since the accident, including a "success story" of restorative justice.

In the Nelson District Court, Leslie James Hollyman, 63, farmer, was sentenced to 40 hours of community work. He had admitted a charge of carelessly operating a vehicle causing injury.

In November last year Hollyman was driving his tractor on State Highway 6 at Wakapuaka when he went to turn and clipped a car that was attempting to overtake him.

The car flipped on to its roof, slid into a ditch and then flipped back upright.

The driver was trapped until emergency services were able to safely remove her and take her to Nelson Hospital, where she was treated for a bleed in her brain and severe bruising. She spent three nights in intensive care.

Defence lawyer Alan Heward told the court Hollyman had indicated that he was turning, but the indicator bulb on the rear of the tractor was faulty.

Mr Heward had a letter from the tractor's manufacturer confirming that there was no warning system on the tractor to show when a bulb had blown.

He said Hollyman went out of his way to meet the victim, and there was "a lot of goodwill" on her part.

Mr Heward said Hollyman was highly regarded in the Hira community, and his victim "wanted Leslie to feel happier living with his situation".

Judge William Hastings said Hollyman's age and commitment to his farm, his restorative justice measures and the letter from the tractor manufacturer were all taken into account in sentencing.

He said Hollyman did everything right immediately after the accident and cooperated with the police. "Everything you did at the time of the accident is to be commended."'

The car was wrecked, but Hollyman had reached out to the victim and "didn't hesitate to write a cheque for $2000 for expenses". The victim was initially reluctant to accept it but did so "so you could live with it, too", Judge Hastings said in his summary.

He said the restorative justice was "a success story, and indicates there was quite a lot of emotional healing", with "warmth, laughter and genuine concern on both parts".

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- Nelson

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