The man jailed after a hit-and-run left a 24-year-old fighting for his life has had four months shaved off his sentence.

In April, Michael Robert Pollard, 61, was sentenced to two years and seven months' imprisonment for dangerous driving causing injury after a car he was driving struck and seriously injured Jesse Minnell outside Whanganui's Red Lion Inn in 2016.

But that sentence has been quashed by the Court of Appeal and replaced with a sentence of two years and three months in a decision released this week.

In the early hours of October 22, 2016, Pollard was driving slowly through the group when someone slapped the side of his car.


Pollard did a U-turn and drove back towards the crowd with heavy acceleration. Minnell was knocked into the air by the force of the blow from the car and landed on his head.

Minnell was flown to Wellington Hospital in critical condition but survived.

At April's sentencing Pollard also received a concurrent sentence of nine months' imprisonment for failing to stop.

This was reduced by the Court of Appeal to six months.

Pollard's lawyer, Peter Brosnahan, argued the prison sentences were "manifestly excessive" for a range of reasons.

But the one the court agreed with was that the starting point, when calculating the final sentence, was too high because it took into account increases for the failing to stop charge and previous convictions.

Brosnahan said the charge itself encapsulated Pollard's culpability and there were no aggravating factors other than the inherent danger in heavily accelerating while driving through a crowd of people on a road.

The Crown argued there was no error in considering the failure to stop conviction separately and "the judge was entitled to impose an additional uplift on account of earlier offending".

But the Court of Appeal ruled additional sentence imposed considering those two matters "was excessive".