Rally driver sentenced for Possum Bourne's death

By Monique Devereux

The rally driver who admitted responsibility for the death of Possum Bourne has been sentenced to 300 hours community work and fined $10,000.

Mike Barltrop, 39, appeared for sentence in the Invercargill District Court having earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated careless use of a vehicle causing death.

Mr Bourne died in Dunedin Hospital on April 30, 12 days after an accident involving Baltrop on Good Friday last year. Mr Bourne received serious head injuries and life support was withdrawn.

The crash happened during preparartions for the annual Race to the Sky rally at Cardrona near Wanaka.

Barltrop admitted driving on the wrong side of the road. He tried to avoid Mr Bourne's car when he realised they were on a collision course but turned the same way as Mr Bourne and smashed into his vehicle causing Mr Bourne's fatal injuries.

Today his lawyer, Pip Hall, said Barltrop accepted full responsibility for the accident and would "suffer a life sentence for his actions".

Judge Stephen O'Driscoll said he believed Barltrop's culpability was moderate.
"You knew you were in the wrong … Mr Bourne was not in the wrong in any way."

Outside the court Detective Sergeant Derek Shaw said police were satisfied with the result of the case and the sentence was in line with the Bourne family wishes.

Barltrop was also disquailifed from driving for 18 months.

The $10,000 reparations will be divided between the Possum Bourne Education trust and Dunedin Hospital's intensive care unit.

Herald Feature: Possum Bourne, 1956-2003

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