Driver ordered to pay crash victims

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 16/08/2014

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A university student has been ordered to pay $6000 to two people badly injured in a road crash.

One of the victims was left with permanent disabilities, Judge Tony Couch said when convicting and sentencing Charlotte Susan Grayling, 20, of Okato, in the New Plymouth District Court yesterday.

Earlier this week Grayling pleaded guilty to two charges of careless driving causing injury.

The judge refused to discharge Grayling without conviction, as called for by her defence lawyer, Tim Wilkinson-Smith.

The standard for a discharge required the penalty to be out of all proportion to the gravity of the offending, the judge said.

And while it was clear the defendant had sporting abilities at a very high level, there was no evidence that a conviction would affect this, he said.

The court was told that the two male victims, aged 15 and 22, were walking in the same northerly direction as Grayling was driving, but were on the opposite side of the road from her, facing the traffic.

Wilkinson-Smith said his client panicked when she saw the two pedestrians, braked and lost control. She had been left very distressed and was remorseful for what happened.

Grayling wished to make an emotional harm payment, determined by the judge, which would be paid through a loan from her parents, Wilkinson-Smith said.

The judge said such cases of careless driving required a weighing-up of the consequences with the level of culpability.

He accepted that Grayling was of previous good character, had pleaded guilty, was remorseful and was only 19 at the time of the offence on November 28.

The 15-year-old victim suffered severe multiple injuries, including broken legs, internal and head injuries, and would have a degree of permanent disability.

The other man suffered a broken leg that required pinning.

The judge found the degree of carelessness involved by Grayling to be significant and the gravity of the offending well up the scale.

He convicted her, ordering an emotional harm payment of $4000 to the more seriously injured victim and $2000 to the other.

Grayling was disqualified from driving for six months.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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