A Darfield man accused of drink-driving leading to the death of a passenger flew to Australia within 24 hours of the crash, the Crown says.
Crown prosecutor Anselm Williams said the man denied he had been in the crashed car and had left the accident scene. He boarded a plane to the Queensland's Gold Coast within 24 hours of the crash.
Cody Marcus John Pierce, 23, denied three charges as his five-day Christchurch District Court trial began before Judge Alistair Garland and a jury today.
The Crown alleges that Pierce caused the death of his passenger, Sean Christopher Frost, in the October 27, 2012, crash at West Melton. Frost died in hospital five days later.
Pierce denies alternative charges of causing Frost's death by driving under the influence of drink to such an extent that he was incapable of having proper control, and that he caused the death by careless driving while under the influence of drink.
The third charge accuses him of failing to render "all practicable assistance" to Frost at the crash scene. He also denies that charge.
Williams said witnesses would be called to give evidence that Pierce had gone to a party near Darfield on the afternoon of the crash. He had drunk a significant amount of alcohol - premixed bourbon - until he left the party in the evening.
Witnesses would describe his behaviour at the party, and would say he appeared drunk.
Williams pointed to a text message Pierce sent to his girlfriend at 7pm, about two hours before the crash, saying he was "drunk already".
Pierce was never breath-tested. He left the accident scene before the police arrived and he had flown to the Gold Coast before he could be spoken to.
The Crown would say that Pierce was the driver of the vehicle - Frost's four-wheel drive vehicle - when he left the party, and later when the pair drove away from Pierce's address in Darfield.
Williams said Pierce had lost control on a bend and crashed the car into a power pole.
Pierce and a driver in a following vehicle got Frost, who had been badly injured, out of the vehicle and onto the ground. When local residents arrived to assist, one of them spoke to Pierce and he denied he had been in the vehicle.
Pierce left the scene soon after in the following vehicle.
Within 30 minutes Pierce had sent a text message to a friend saying he "might be coming to Goldie [The Gold Coast]" and he boarded a flight to Australia next day, Williams said.
Richard Maze appears for Pierce.
The trial is continuing.
- The Press
Are food trucks in Cathedral Square a good idea?Related story: Food trucks in Cathedral Square
• Newsroom 03-943 2827 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Classified Ads: 03-3778778 or email email@example.com
• Display and Online Ads: 03-3648285 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
• General inquiries: 03 379 0940
• Subscribe to The Press
• Deliveries, subscriptions, holiday stop/starts: 03 364 8464, or email: email@example.com
• No paper or holiday stop/starts: action online
• Buy a photo
• Newspaper subscribers - register for the digital edition
• Make press.co.nz your homepage
Read Press extras for Avenues, fashion, home design and weddings