Lawyers' daughter linked to serious-injury crash

Last updated 05:00 02/11/2012

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The teenage daughter of two prominent Wellington lawyers has been charged with drink-driving after a collision in which another teen was seriously injured.

The charge against Sophia Cara Ord Nisbet was called in Wellington District Court yesterday on her 18th birthday, though she was not present.

She is accused of driving with a breath alcohol level of 641 micrograms per litre of breath. The limit for those under 20 is zero.

The charge relates to an incident on Saturday night, when St Patrick's College pupil James Dumelow, 18, was hit by a car as he walked home from a private birthday party held at the Worser Bay Lifesaving Club.

It is believed Mr Dumelow - who police say was "highly intoxicated" - was hit after stepping on to the road from between two cars in the Wellington suburb of Seatoun.

He was taken to Wellington Hospital with life-threatening head injuries and was yesterday in a stable condition.

Senior Sergeant Richard Hocken said the crash was still being investigated and it was unknown whether more serious charges would be laid.

Nisbet, who is believed to be a Samuel Marsden Collegiate School pupil, is the daughter of lawyers Letizea Ord and Val Nisbet.

Both appear for defendants in the criminal courts. Mr Nisbet recently represented Emily Bailey, one of the Urewera Four.

Ms Ord was appointed last year to the tribunal that reviews legal aid decisions. She has practised extensively in both the criminal and family jurisdictions.

Their daughter was due to appear in court today but her case was called a day early to have it postponed until the end of the month. Her lawyer, Mike Antunovic, did not ask for her name to be suppressed. After the hearing, Mr Antunovic would not say why the case was called early.

Police agreed her attendance could be excused and she could be remanded at large without any bail conditions.

No media were present at the hearing, and Judge Bruce Davidson later asked for them to be advised. Her case was recalled to explain what had been done.

The judge said he hoped there would be no suggestion that the hearing had been conducted in closed court.

Sophia Nisbet, her father and Mr Dumelow's family all declined to comment yesterday.

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- The Dominion Post

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