Man jailed for fatal collision, distributing drugs

By Gisborne Herald staff

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A Gisborne man who caused a fatal collision just outside Opotiki in December 2012 had been in Auckland "facilitating methamphetamine offending", a Crown prosecutor revealed in court.

While on bail for careless use causing death, the man made 15 similar trips in which he brought back a total of more than 1.3kg, or P, for redistribution to Gisborne drug users.

Paul Aliceoun Campbell, 38, appeared for sentence by Judge Jonathan Down in Gisborne District Court last week.

He was jailed for one year and four months on the driving charge, cumulative upon nine years' jail for charges of possession, supply and conspiracy to supply the Class A drug.

The total sentence was 10 years and four months, with a non-parole period of five years.

His vehicle used in the commission of the drugs crimes and cash found at the time of his arrest were forfeited.

Prosecutor Clayton Walker said Campbell was one of four people charged after a police swoop on methamphetamine dealers in Gisborne last November. The lengthy operation had involved surveillance of text messages and other communications between September 1, 2012 and October 25, 2013.

Counsel John Mathieson said Campbell denied being involved in methamphetamine offending at the time of the accident and there were no charges relating to that period to suggest otherwise.

Mr Walker told the court it might be hard to understand how methamphetamine offending commanded a greater sentence than the driving charge. But the loss of life caused by Campbell was not intentional - his methamphetamine offending was.

Campbell, not a user of the drug himself, had willingly disseminated P and caused harm to a large part of the Gisborne community.

Judge Down said it was important the sentence for the driving matter was cumulative.

He did not want it to be lost in the sentence for the drugs offences, which carried a significantly higher maximum prison term than the three-year maximum for the driving charge.

Campbell was on the wrong side of the road when he hit farmer Eion Gerbert, 21, head-on at a bend in a stretch of SH2 near Bairds Road at about 5am on December 1, 2012.

Gerbert, riding his farm bike to his nearby milking job and not wearing a helmet, was catapulted 35 metres and died instantly.

The judge allowed a three-month discount for remorse and a 25 per cent discount for Campbell's guilty pleas.

A final sentence of 10 years was reduced by a year, the judge saying he felt the overall sentence for the drug offending was too high.

Police later said they were pleased with the sentence but the family of Mr Gerbert said they said they did not accept claims that Campbell was genuinely remorseful or had attempted to contact them after the fatal accident.

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