Victim supports driver who mowed him down

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 11:00 18/02/2014

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A New Plymouth man was badly injured when he was rammed with a van during a drug-fuelled scrap, the court heard.

But - as it often was with this type of drug-related incident - the rage and acrimony soon passed and the two were again mates, defence lawyer Paul Keegan told the New Plymouth District Court on Friday.

Ryan Kinnair Butchart, 36, pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs causing bodily injury and failing to stop after the road rage incident on South Rd, New Plymouth on September 14.

His victim was sitting in court to support him, Mr Keegan said.

The third person, also a passenger in the van, was Cindi Fairburn, Mr Keegan said.

Fairburn was convicted of manslaughter over the death in 2007 of her former boyfriend, Darin Maxwell, in a head-on crash dubbed the "body on the bonnet" case. She was freed from jail in March.

The ramming incident in September kicked off when Fairburn and two men - all of whom were well known to the court and the hard drug scene - had been fighting in the van, Mr Keegan said.

The male passenger got out of the van and kicked it twice.

With that the driver, Butchart, revved the van and drove it into his victim "which is a very dangerous thing to do", Mr Keegan said.

Butchart now wanted to clean up his life and be free of drugs, his lawyer said.

Judge Keith de Ridder described the incident as "very unusual to say the least". Butchart's victim suffered significant injuries from being rammed and mown down.

Tests showed Butchart was clearly affected by drugs which highlighted the ongoing problem with drugged driving, the judge said.

The victim should also take some responsibility for his role in the incident when he kicked the van.

Butchart's pre-sentence report writer recommended a punitive sentence but, more importantly, rehabilitation "so this bizarre behaviour is unlikely to happen again", the judge said.

Butchart was sentenced to 12 months supervision to undergo residential drug treatment and 200 hours community work which could be converted into training. He was also disqualified from driving for a year.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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