Sentence date set for driver in fatal accident

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Photo / File

Sentencing of a Gisborne driver who caused the death of a motorcyclist in a head-on collision near Opotiki last year, has been scheduled for November 7.

Paul Aliceoun Campbell, 38, pleaded guilty last month in Gisborne District Court to a charge of aggravated and careless use of a vehicle causing death, amended from one of dangerous driving causing death.

Yesterday Judge Bridget Mackintosh remanded him at large until sentencing. She indicated a likely outcome would be within the two-year threshold for home detention to be considered.

The charges arose out of an accident around 5am on December 1, 2012.

Campbell, travelling north and overtaking a truck on a section of State Highway 2 near the Baird Rd intersection, about 1.5km west of Opotiki, struck 21-year-old farmer Eion Gerbert who was travelling in the opposite direction.

Judge Mackintosh also ruled on an earlier dispute as to whether Mr Gerbert's headlight was showing.

A police expert report stated even if the light had been on, it could have been impossible to see as it was obscured by conflicting illumination from an overhead streetlight at the corner of Baird Rd and emerging early daylight, she said.

She would not sentence Campbell in the absence of Mr Gerbert's family, who she said should be present and heard on the matter if they so wished.

She understood the family was still very upset and had refused a restorative justice meeting with Campbell.

She believed the process would assist family members with their grief and urged a co-ordinator to further encourage them to participate.

The judge also called for more detailed reports into domestic violence callouts involving Campbell.

The reports would assist with any decision as to whether he could serve a sentence of home detention while residing with his family, the judge said.

- Gisborne Herald

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