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

Auckland driver guilty of causing death of elderly woman

Ronald Brett Salt denied being responsible for the death of  Pera "Bella" Hotere but Judge Russell Collins found him guilty after a judge-alone trial earlier this month. File photo
Ronald Brett Salt denied being responsible for the death of Pera "Bella" Hotere but Judge Russell Collins found him guilty after a judge-alone trial earlier this month. File photo

An Auckland driver has been found guilty of careless driving causing the death an elderly woman as she walked home from a card game.

Ronald Brett Salt, 45, denied being responsible for the death of Pera "Bella" Hotere but Judge Russell Collins found him guilty after a judge-alone trial earlier this month.

The woman was struck by the vehicle on Ash St in Avondale just metres from her home on the evening of April 18, 2015.

Ms Hotere died at the scene.

Neighbours said at the time she had been on her way back from Avondale Racecourse where she had been playing housie.

Judge Collins said the victim would have been visible to the motorist for up to 4.5 seconds.

However, he said Ms Hotere significantly contributed to her own death by walking into the path of oncoming traffic.

"While the impact was not the sole cause of death, it was a substantial and operative factor," Judge Collins said.

Ms Hotere had lived in her Avondale home for around 50 years, residents said, and was well known to neighbours who would frequently see her making her way over to her card games.

"The car was coming out of the Z station and hit her at low speed," Inspector Tony Wakelin said at the time.

Salt was remanded on bail before sentencing in August.

The maximum penalty for careless driving causing death is three months in prison and/or a $4500 fine.

But his lawyer indicated she may make an application for a discharge without conviction at sentencing.

- NZ Herald

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