Police analyst ignored reports, inquest told

By James Ihaka

William Hoskins
William Hoskins

Two expert reports about an incident in which a wedding guest was run over on a Waikato road were ignored by a police crash analyst, a coroner's inquest has been told.

David Mascelle was towing an 800kg loaded trailer when he hit Hastings man William Gregory Hoskins, 26, at Matangi about 4.40am on January 15 last year.

Detective Will Loughrin today told an inquest in Hamilton into Mr Hoskins' death that a report detailing the effectiveness of Mr Mascelle's headlights and the streetlight where Mr Hoskins was found was emailed to the crash analyst investigating the accident.

But neither this report or another completed by John Holderness, who looked into the vehicular aspects of the accident, were taken into consideration when analyst Constable Rebecca Dearing made her final conclusions.

The constable's experience, or lack of, and omissions from her findings were questioned on the first day of the inquest yesterday.

Mr Hoskins, who had been at a nearby wedding, died at the scene on Marychurch Road, Matangi. It is understood he was trying to get back to a motel in Cambridge where family members were staying.

A forensic pathologist's findings showed that Mr Hoskins died of multiple internal injuries. The pathologist said it was not possible to exclude the possibility he was standing up at the time he was run over but his injuries were more indicative of him lying down.

Police investigated but ruled out the possibility of suicide.

Mr Loughrin said that despite an extensive legal review of the case, police did not have enough evidence to charge Mr Mascelle with failing to stop and ascertain injury.

He said Mr Mascelle's actions at a BP service station in Cambridge a few minutes later when he checked his vehicle for damage weren't indicative of a person who thought he had hit another human being.

Ross Oliver, a consultant engineer who analysed the cumulative effect of illumination from a street light close to where Mr Hoskins was found and Mr Mascelle's headlights, said if he had been driving with his lights on full beam he would have increased his visibility five-fold.

He said Mr Mascelle's headlights were dipped at the time of the accident and were incorrectly aligned with one aimed too low - reducing the lighting intensity he had moving forward by half and giving him a line of sight of 44 metres.

But given Mr Hoskins was wearing a dark suit and was possibly lying on the black tarmac ahead of the street light his ability to spot his body was ``very limited''.

Mr Mascelle's wife, community magistrate Ngaire Mascelle, is expected to give evidence this afternoon.

The inquest before Coroner Garry Evans was set to conclude today but evidence from witnesses and cross-examination has meant it will be adjourned today before 4pm and will conclude tomorrow.

- NZ Herald

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