Fury as hit-run charges dropped
The husband of a community magistrate has had charges over a fatal hit-and-run dropped, sparking outrage from the dead man's father.
William Gregory Hoskins, 26, of Hastings, died after being run over on State Highway 1B at Matangi, near Hamilton, on January 15. He was found, still breathing, by a passing motorist and died soon afterwards.
David Gregory Mascelle, 47, of Matangi, handed himself in to police the following day, more than 24 hours after the incident.
He was charged with careless driving causing death, and his wife, Ngaire Mascelle, was removed from the community magistrate roster while the case continued. Mrs Mascelle was a passenger in the car when Mr Hoskins was run over.
Her husband was due to reappear in Hamilton District Court on the charge today but police have confirmed it has been withdrawn.
Greg Hoskins, the victim's father, was visited by police on Wednesday and told the charge would be dropped.
He was outraged that the man who had been accused of his son's death had been let off the hook.
"It's a joke, mate," he said. "It's just how it is." His son had been at the wedding of his cousin, Erin Hoskins, and Oliver Cameron on the night he was hit.
When found by the passing motorist, William Hoskins had multiple trauma injuries but was still breathing when emergency services arrived.
Greg Hoskins said the family were still coming to terms with the loss of their son and brother.
"You don't get over ... this," he said. "It's for life." He claimed Mr Mascelle had reasoned that visibility was poor on the night of the accident. But Mr Hoskins claimed otherwise: "I was on the road only an hour before them."
The first man on the scene of the accident – and a key police witness – was also told on Thursday night his services in the case would no longer be needed.
The witness was told Mr Mascelle had hired another lawyer and said he understood it had been determined that "he couldn't have stopped" the car on the night of the accident.
Waikato district commander Superintendent Win van der Velde said that after legal advice and evidence by forensic experts, the case against Mr Mascelle "lacked the evidential sufficiency to successfully prosecute".
Mr Mascelle declined to comment yesterday.
Mrs Mascelle has previously refused to comment on why her husband did not make a voluntary appearance at a police station until more than 24 hours after the accident. It remained unclear last night whether Mrs Mascelle had resumed her role as a community magistrate.
When charges were laid against her husband, Justice Ministry senior judicial communications adviser Neil Billington said Mrs Mascelle had not been "stood down" but would not sit as a magistrate until her husband's case was resolved.
Community magistrates are paid only when they sit, with their pay capped at $400 a day.
A community magistrate is a member of the public who is appointed by the governor-general to hear less serious cases that come before the district court.
January 15: William Hoskins dies after being run over on State Highway 1B at Matangi.
January 16: David Mascelle goes to the police station.
January 19: Mascelle appears in court charged with careless driving causing death.
January 28: Fairfax Media reveals that a community magistrate was a passenger in the car on the night of the accident.
February 17: Name suppression lapses for Mascelle. It is revealed he is the driver and the community magistrate is his wife, Ngaire.
July 9: Fairfax reveals police have dropped the charge against Mascelle.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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