Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Rich-lister at risk of jail for allegedly fleeing crash scene

Businessman Michael John Reid, 60, denied charges of careless driving and failing to stop after a non-injury crash when he appeared in Auckland District Court this week. Photo / File
Businessman Michael John Reid, 60, denied charges of careless driving and failing to stop after a non-injury crash when he appeared in Auckland District Court this week. Photo / File

A rich-lister reported to be worth $150 million is in jeopardy of being sent to prison after allegedly fleeing the scene of a car crash.

Businessman Michael John Reid, 60, denied charges of careless driving and failing to stop after a non-injury crash when he appeared in Auckland District Court this week.

The charges' maximum fines of $3000 and $4500 respectively may not be enough to trouble a multi-millionaire, but the charge of leaving the scene could lead to imprisonment for up to three months.

Reid, who runs investment company Union Pacific Corporation (UPC), would not be drawn on explaining the alleged incident yesterday. "I'd rather not comment," he said.

Reid confirmed he had pleaded not guilty but would not detail what his defence entailed. His lawyer, Kevin McDonald, was not available for comment.

According to court documents, Reid was driving on St Heliers Bay Rd on November 27 last year when a crash occurred.

He allegedly left the scene before police officers arrived.

Police would not elaborate on the circumstances around the charges and said that, in general, there were many potential reasons that cases took several months to come before the court.

"These include factors such as injuries to any parties involved, vehicles that need to be examined, and the number of witnesses that have to be spoken to and their availability," a spokeswoman said.

The scene of the alleged accident is just a couple of kilometres from the clifftop mansion Reid shares with his wife Pauline on the highly desirable Hanene St in the exclusive eastern suburb of St Heliers.

According to QV, the five-bedroom property, which sits above Tamaki Drive and overlooks Rangitoto Island, has a capital value of $15.5 million.

Previously on the site was a home owned by the Caughey family of Auckland retail royalty, but Reid bowled that to make way for his new house.

Herald reports at the time described the 789sq m, three-level, Mediterranean-style house as featuring a swimming pool, putting green, three fireplaces, a billiard room, a gym, a wine room, a lift, large indoor and outdoor entertaining areas and basement parking for five or six cars.

The National Business Review's 2015 Rich List estimated Reid's wealth at $150 million, putting him well within the country's top 100.

His company UPC bought Marac Finance in 1993, selling it seven years later to Pyne Gould Corporation for $41 million.

NBR said Reid had a substantial property portfolio in Auckland.

He will be back in court next month.

- NZ Herald

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