A prominent Hawke's Bay barrister has admitted to crashing into a vehicle driven by Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar in July 2012.
Barrister Nigel Hewat turned his vehicle and collided with Mr McVicar's on July 26, 2012, at the intersection of Napier and Lawn roads. He hit the driver's door. Mr McVicar's vehicle spun 360 degrees and into a power pole, knocking down power lines.
After the accident, which occurred about 5.50pm, Hewat parked his vehicle about 75 metres from the intersection and walked away from the crash scene. He was found a short distance away and was taken back. But he left a second time, and police found him walking along Lawn Rd.
At the Napier District Court yesterday, Hewat pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving and a charge of failing to stop to ascertain injury.
No one was injured in the accident and, in explanation, Hewat told police he didn't know he'd hit another vehicle.
Defence counsel Roger Phillip told the court Hewat had been traumatised by the incident and in a state of confusion after the crash, which went some way to explaining his behaviour, and Hewat's job meant he was familiar with the obligations under the Land Transport Act.
He was fined $350 for the careless driving charge. He was also fined $500 and disqualified for six months for the "more perplexing" issue of failing to stop to ascertain injury.
Mr McVicar told Hawke's Bay Today he felt the case had dragged on and said responsibility for the accident should have been taken earlier.
"We're all capable of making mistakes," he said. "If you do make a mistake, put your hand up. Ultimately, at the end of the day it's over and done with. I'm very grateful nobody was hurt."
Hewat declined to comment when contacted yesterday.