Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Andy Earl found guilty over Hubbard crash

The scene of the crash which killed Alan Hubbard in 2011. Photo/ Dan Tasker
The scene of the crash which killed Alan Hubbard in 2011. Photo/ Dan Tasker

Andy Earl, the driver accused of causing the fatal head-on car crash that killed Timaru financier Allan Hubbard has been found guilty.

A judge today ruled that Mr Earl, of Mosgiel, was to blame for the September 2, 2011 crash after his ute crossed the centre line and caused the head-on collision on State Highway 1, just north of Oamaru.

Mr Hubbard, 83, died shortly after the crash and his wife Jean, who was driving, was injured.

Judge Gary MacAskill delivered his judgement at Christchurch District Court this morning.

He said Earl, 41, was drowsy or had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Mr Hubbard's widow, Jean, can't recall anything of the fatal smash that claimed her husband's life.

She woke up in Oamaru Hospital worried that maybe she was to blame.

But it was Earl who was charged, with careless driving causing death and careless driving causing injury.

In a statement released through her lawyers Russell McVeagh today, Jean Hubbard acknowledged those involved in the case.

"Mrs Hubbard has today been advised of the court's decision to convict Andy Earl of the careless driving charges he was facing. She respects the Court's decision based on the evidence it heard.

"She bears no ill will towards Mr Earl or his family arising out of the accident.

"Mrs Hubbard wishes to thank the Oamaru Police for the assistance they have provided her and for all of their hard work in investigating the accident. She also greatly appreciates the effort of all the witnesses who travelled to Timaru to assist the Court.

"She welcomes the conclusion of the case so that both the Hubbard and Earl families can now move on with their lives, as her late husband, Allan Hubbard, would have wanted.

"Mrs Hubbard and her family would also like to take this opportunity to thank friends and supporters for all their support since Allan's passing.

When the trial began in early June in Oamaru District Court, sitting in Timaru, a witness told the court of his concerns over Earl's "erratic'' driving shortly before the crash.

He said that in his rearview mirror, he saw Earl's red Holden Rodeo 4WD ute drift into the Hubbards' oncoming white Honda Jazz, causing the crash.

Judge MacAskill found him guilty on both counts and adjourned sentenced to a nominal date of August 9.

Mr Earl's appearance was excused today.

At the time of his death, Mr Hubbard's firm, Aorangi Securities was being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and was placed in statutory management in June 2010, owing investors up to $100 million.

The SFO laid 50 charges against Mr Hubbard under the Crimes Act but those were dropped shortly after his death.

- APNZ

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