Look out for your mates, mum pleads
A grieving mother says the loss of her teenage son in a car crash was preventable. Tracey Ellis' 18-year-old son, Kayne Alderson, was killed when he crashed a car he had been allowed to drive by the owner.
"We are all responsible for stopping drink-driving, at a personal level and by looking out for each other," she said.
Her victim-impact statement was read in court, describing how Alderson had been "a lovely kid".
It was wrong of him to drink-drive, but his death in May last year had been preventable.
"Mates need to look after each other and not encourage each other to do things that will end up with consequences like this," she said.
Christchurch District Court Judge Emma Smith imposed six months of supervision and 200 hours of community work on Benjamin Peter Beazley, 22, a contractor, of Opawa, who had admitted a charge of aiding and abetting a driver he knew was under the influence of alcohol.
She ordered him to pay $1500 to Alderson's family as emotional-harm reparation, and disqualified him from driving for six months.
Defence counsel Keith Hales said Beazley was a working man who was in a precarious financial situation. He had acknowledged his responsibility by pleading guilty.
He was a first offender in terms of drink-driving offences.
Judge Smith said the group of friends had gone out with a sober driver on the night.
They went to several licensed premises and Beazley was sometimes told to leave because he was so drunk.
Late in the night they bought alcohol and went to Beazley's home.
The sober driver was no longer available when they decided to go out again and Beazley refused to drive. Alderson decided to drive, and Beazley did nothing to prevent him.
Beazley had seen him drive before and thought of him as a confident young man.
He did not know that Alderson had only a learner's licence.
The car, which was Beazley's, hit a power pole in Flaxton Rd, Southbrook, in Canterbury, about 1.45am on May 25.
The driver was killed and Beazley was injured.
Judge Smith noted that Beazley had two convictions for wheel-spinning, which showed irresponsibility.
"On this night, you wanted to get 'ripped' and you did, with little care for those around you and their families," she said at the sentencing today.
Alderson had also been responsible for the death, but Beazley had contributed "in a disastrous way" by not stopping him driving.
She wanted to send a message to young man and the community: "If you can't take care of each other, don't go out with the distinct purpose of getting drunk."
Police head of prosecutions Senior Sergeant Scott Richardson said afterwards that Alderson's mother accepted the sentence imposed.
He said police wanted to get the message out that car owners had to ensure that people driving their cars were licensed and sober, or they could end up in court.
There had been 20 similar prosecutions for aiding drink-drivers in New Zealand over the last year, including eight in Canterbury, but this appeared to be the only case where the driver had been killed, he said.