A Nelson woman who drove her car into her uncle, crushing him against a pole and severing his right leg, has been found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm.
Cassandra Renia Tewhei Albert, 26, was yesterday found guilty on a charge related to the driving incident after a four-day trial in Nelson. A jury of 11 - five men and six women - took about five hours to reach their verdict. She will be sentenced on November 19.
Albert had name suppression throughout the trial, but it lapsed after the verdict.
It can now be revealed that the incident happened while Albert was still on parole for injuring her then-infant son.
In 2009 Albert was sentenced to three years and nine months in jail after she admitted violently shaking her four-month-old baby in what she said was "a moment of madness", leaving him permanently brain damaged.
Together with her then-partner Newton Samuel Moki, she had admitted a charge of injuring her son with reckless disregard, and failing to provide the necessities of life.
Yesterday, the jury found her guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with a reckless disregard for the safety of her uncle, Robert Albert. It found her not guilty of the more serious charge of causing him grievous bodily harm with the intention of doing so.
The charges related to a dramatic incident on August 15 last year when Albert drove her car into Mr Albert on Wakefield Quay, crushing him against a pole and severing his right leg.
Albert later went to the Nelson police station with family members to hand herself in.
The court heard this week the incident stemmed from a dispute involving the payment of rent at a house the pair lived in.
Mr Albert had his portion of the rent money, but had fallen victim to an online scam, and was preparing to send the money to the scammer, with Albert trying to prevent him from doing so.
Summing up yesterday, Judge Denys Barry said the core issues revolved around the aspects of intention or conscious appreciation of risk.
It was not in contention that Albert had driven her car into Mr Albert, causing him grievous bodily harm, rather whether the Crown had proven that she did so deliberately, either with intention to cause harm or with a reckless disregard at the possibility.
The jury needed to look at the context surrounding the actions to draw logical inferences as to Albert's intention. But they could not make speculation, he said.
Crown prosecutor Jackson Webber had said Albert's intention to deliberately or recklessly cause harm was clear from the surrounding context, as she was growing increasingly angry when he refused to get into her car.
She may not have intended to pin him against the pole, but she had intended to hit him with the car, he said.
Mr Albert had also given a statement to Albert's mother, which he later recanted, saying he had run across into the path of the car, that he had seen a look of horror in her eyes, and that the incident was an accident.
The statement had been given under significant stress, and should be disregarded, Mr Webber said.
Defence lawyers Tony Bamford and Michael Vesty had said it was unclear what her intention was, and the incident was an accident.
Tyre marks suggested Albert may have been aiming to the right of Mr Albert, and the jury could not infer any intention to cause serious lasting harm from her actions.
It was not logical that she had been trying to run him down, rather that she was trying to get him into the car.
She was upset that they were facing eviction if they did not pay rent, and upset that he was paying money to a scammer who was taking advantage of his gullible nature.
She had not consciously thought about the risk of hitting him.
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