Matangi fatal driver takes the stand

03:50, Jul 25 2013
David Mascelle
'CAREFUL DRIVER': David Mascelle drew sniggers from the family of William Hoskins when he said he was always careful on the roads.

Tension between the family of a Hastings man struck down and killed by a car and the driver of that car have come to a head in Hamilton District Court .

Coroner Garry Evans is leading an inquiry into the death of Hastings man William Gregory Hoskins, who was fatally struck by a car on Marychurch Rd, Matangi, near Hamilton, in the early hours of January 15 last year.

David Mascelle - the husband of Hamilton-based community magistrate Ngaire Mascelle - was initially charged with careless driving causing death but that charge was withdrawn by police.

Mr Mascelle, who began giving evidence Thursday morning, was working as a joiner at the time, and had to take a load of windows down to Wellington.

The at times tense hearing came to a head early in Mr Mascelle's testimony this morning after, in answering a question, Mr Mascelle said he was a "careful driver" to which a Hoskins family member sniggered.

Mr Mascelle, took exception, immediately turning around and complaining to Coroner Evans.

Coroner Evans then warned the family to keep their thoughts to themselves.

Philip Crayton, acting for the Crown, asked why he didn't use his full beam lights along Marychurch Rd.

Mr Mascelle replied that he encountered fog while driving out of his driveway and to drive on full beam was "dangerous" in those conditions.

Mr Crayton put to him that there were often stock or animals on rural roads, and full beam would help highlight dangers, but Mr Mascelle didn't accept that.

"I have never seen an animal or stock on the road ...It depends on the farmers fencing. I have been driving 30 years and never seen an animal or stock on the road."

Mr Crayton asked why he never went back to check on what he had hit or to aid Mr Primmer who, at that stage, had just pulled up and could have been injured or vehicle damaged.

"He didn't come to my aid either," Mr Mascelle replied.

"For all you know, Mr Primmer may have had an accident ... and you still don't go back to investigate, why?" Mr Crayton asked.

"At that time I made a judgement on the information (that it was a box or crate) I had before me and right now it's the wrong judgement but that's the judgement I made."

After questioning from Mr Crayton, Mr Mascelle said he took his eyes off the road for what he now says was between 1 and 1.5 seconds, to turn on the air conditioning in his vehicle.

Mr Evans on Wednesday quizzed Mrs Mascelle on her definition of what constituted an accident after she said that what happened on the morning of January 15, 2012, was not one.

She said she did not consider it an accident because an accident occurred when "you damage another motor vehicle or injure a person or animal".

She did not believe damage only to one's own vehicle could be defined as an accident.

At the time of the accident, the couple had initially thought they had hit some type of object - or "box or crate" but later the same day she received a text from her daughter that there had been a death on Marychurch Rd about 5am.