An Auckland eye surgeon whose wife died in unexplained circumstances in their Remuera home last April has pleaded not guilty to a charge of careless driving.
Philip Polkinghorne, 68, allegedly drove his red Amarok ute into a car outside the Parnell Rose Gardens in December. Today was set to be his first appearance on the charge at Auckland District Court.
However, defence counsel Tony Bouchier asked that his client's presence be excused and entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
Polkinghorne worked as a doctor at Auckland Eye before retiring following the Easter Monday death of his wife, Pauline Hanna.
Police continue to investigate the circumstances of Hanna's death and are still treating it as unexplained, Detective Inspector Aaron Pascoe said today in a statement to the Herald.
The senior health executive at Counties Manukau District Health Board, Hanna, 63, was responsible for the Covid-19 response at procurement company Healthsource. Police spent 11 days searching the couple's property on Upland Rd after her death. Polkinghorne has previously told the Herald he was being treated as a "person of suspect" by police in their investigation.
Polkinghorne resigned from the Auckland Eye board a month after his wife’s death and has since retired.
He has moved out of the $4 million family home and moved in with his sister. The property was put up for sale but is temporarily off the market.
Polkinghorne previously told the Herald his wife was overworked and highly regarded by her peers.
"People would ask me what her role was and I didn't really know, but she could fix any problem," Polkinghorne said.
Hanna adored Polkinghorne's sons, John, Ben, and Taine, and considered them "her children", Polkinghorne said.
Ben Polkinghorne posted on Facebook shortly after she died that Hanna had been "horrendously stressed" at work and that it had taken a heavy toll on her mental health.
In October intimate details about Polkinghorne's alleged relationship with a high-class Australian escort, Christine McQueen (also known as Madison Ashton), were revealed.
Polkinghorne wouldn't comment when asked about the alleged relationship but told the Herald days after his wife's death his relationship was "perfect".
“Our relationship wasn’t fine, it wasn’t fine at all, it was perfect,” Polkinghorne said.