Drink-driving causing death charge reinstated

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2014

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The female drunk-driver who killed a teenager walking home from a party broke down in tears in court yesterday after once again being charged with drink-driving causing his death.

Kylee Denise Wallace, 37, was initially charged with drink-driving causing the death of Wiremu Thompson, 19, of Bell Block about 4.30am on February 2. She returned a 659mcg breath alcohol level.

Then in May the charge was reduced to one of drink-driving, her third, after which Wallace pleaded guilty.

But this month, the drink driving charge was sent back to be reviewed by prosecutors and the police legal section. After hearing opposing submissions in the New Plymouth District Court yesterday from both police and defence, Judge Max Courtney upgraded the charge to drink-driving causing the young man's death.

With that, Wallace's defence counsel Julian Hannam said his client would plead not guilty and elected trial by jury.

Earlier Hannam, who argued against the more serious charge on the grounds of fairness and justice, said the two families involved were struggling to understand the procedures "unfurling before them".

His client was not trying to shirk her responsibility. It was very sad the situation had dragged out as it had, Hannam said.

Wallace was remanded to October 2 for a case review hearing.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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