A rare charge against a man who let his drunk mate drive his car before a fatal crash highlights the need for car owners to take responsibility for who gets behind the wheel, say police.
Ben Beazley, 22, pleaded guilty yesterday at Christchurch District Court to a charge of aiding and abetting his friend Tarrin Kayne Alderson by allowing him to drive while under the influence of alcohol.
Mr Alderson was killed when he lost control of the vehicle near Rangiora, smashing into a power pole.
The conviction showed the importance of vehicle owners taking responsibility for who drove their cars, including making sure they were not affected by alcohol or drugs, said Senior Sergeant Phil Newton of the Canterbury Road Policing Group.
"Knowingly letting unlicensed or impaired people drive your car is not acceptable, and puts other road users at risk.
"If you lent a firearm to an unlicensed or intoxicated person, you would expect repercussions for anything they did with it, and a car is no different. A motor vehicle in the wrong hands is just as deadly," he said.
Aiding and abetting carries the same penalty as the original driver's offence, including mandatory disqualification, said Mr Newton.
Beazley had been out celebrating Mr Alderson's 18th birthday on May 25 last year. They'd been kicked out of a pub because they were intoxicated, bought more booze and drove around drinking, before getting dropped off by their sober driver at another pub near Beazley's home in Opawa, Christchurch.
The drunken pair decided to drive from there to Rangiora, about 25km away. Beazley said he was too drunk to drive but Mr Alderson, who only had a learner's licence, made the fatal decision to drive.
Beazley has been remanded on bail to July 5 for sentencing, with Judge Somerville ordering a pre-sentence report on his suitability for community or home detention.