A Taupo cyclist who suffered life threatening injuries after she and her partner were hit by a vehicle on a rural road near Taupo seven months ago says she no longer has any ill feeling or anger towards the driver.
In the Taupo District Court today Judge Phillip Cooper sentenced Atiamuri 18-year-old Jordan Lee Dobbyn to five months' community detention with a daily 7pm to 7am curfew at his father's Tokoroa house, 100 hours' community service and disqualified him from driving for 18 months.
Dobbyn had already pleaded guilty to two charges of careless driving causing injury. At today's hearing, Judge Cooper also found him guilty of a charge of driving on a revoked licence which was the subject of a defended hearing in November. Judge Cooper said Dobbyn's licence would remain revoked at the end of the 18-month disqualification if he had not been declared medically fit to drive.
Dobbyn's father, his grandparents and one of the crash victims, Sirpa Lajunen, were at today's court hearing.
Ms Lajunen told The Daily Post outside the court while she held no ill feeling towards the driver, his decision to defend the charge of driving with a revoked licence had resulted in a "long drawn out" court hearing which had added to the stress she and her husband had suffered.
Her injuries included five fractured vertebrae, fractured ribs, a punctured lung, internal bleeding in the crash. Her husband David Joyce had a fractured spine, shoulder injury and severe bruising.
The court heard that Ms Lajunen and David Joyce had been riding in single file on Poihipi Rd, near Taupo, to the left of the white road marking when they were hit by Dobbyn on May 25 about 3pm. The court was told Mr Dobbyn senior had allegedly asked his son to drive him to collect his vehicle and the pair were on their way home when the crash occurred. Dobbyn's lawyer, Peter Hardie, said his client was driving a diesol hi-Lux vehicle and was 25m to 30m behind his father's vehicle which had obscured the cyclists from his vision.
He said his client had suffered a head injury in a car crash in 2010 and was "very remorseful" as he understood "only too well" how long it took to get over. Dobbyn, who is also known by the name of Jamie Carlson had his driving licence revoked on medical grounds following the crash.
Judge Cooper said while he accepted there had been no deliberate or irresponsible driving, excess speed or drugs or alcohol, Dobbyn's remorse and guilty pleas to the careless driving charges had been undermined by the not guilty plea that was entered on technical grounds to the charge of driving while his licence had been revoked.
He said there were limited options for sentencing. Dobbyn's ongoing health issues and rehabilitation meant he was unable to take up full employment, making a monetry penalty impractical. A lengthy term of community work was also problematic making community detention the only viable option.
Following the sentencing Ms Lajunen met briefly outside the courthouse with Dobbyn for the first time since the crash. She told The Daily Post that although she had previously not wanted any contact with Dobbyn, the opportunity to speak in person with him following the court hearing had brought her some closure.
"I was pretty angry (after the crash), but I know he is very sorry and has been distraught about what happened."
Dobbyn's father, Timothy Joseph Dobbyn, also of Atiamuri, has pleaded not guilty to a further charge related to the crash of counselling, aiding and abeting his son to drive knowing he was not legally allowed to. That case is due to be heard next year.