A Mosgiel woman responsible for an accident which injured a
97-year-old man who died in hospital three weeks later from
complications has been fined and disqualified.
Sarah Jane Brown, a 43-year-old nurse, was originally charged
with careless driving causing the death of Crawford William
Robinson Madill on March 13.
That charge was later amended to one of causing injury and
Brown pleaded guilty. In the Dunedin District Court
yesterday, she was fined $1500, court costs $132.89, and
disqualified from driving for 12 months. Judge Dominic
Flatley refused an application by counsel Bernadette Farnan
for Brown's name to be permanently suppressed.
He said he accepted it was a difficult situation for the
defendant and for the victim's family. It was also a
difficult sentencing exercise for the court. But he had to
take into account Brown had a conviction in 2010 for driving
with a very high breath-alcohol level - 1133mcg. She also had
subsequent convictions for driving while disqualified and
And while Ms.Farnan said the defendant had resorted to
alcohol to cope with stressful events, the judge said people
had difficult events in life to deal with all the time and it
was not an excuse to say she resorted to alcohol then drove a
vehicle. Brown's demerit points record showed she had been
detected driving ''far too fast'' on several occasions, Judge
Flatley said. Ms.Farnan said Brown had gone through
restorative justice with Mr Madill's family and had agreed to
make a $1000 donation to a particular Taieri church. She
asked for the interim order for name suppression to be made
permanent for reasons which the judge agreed to suppress.
It was ''an irony'' for the defendant to be in the situation
in which she found herself, given she worked in a caring
professions, Ms.Farnan said. The defendant was unable to
explain the accident and did not believe she had been
speeding. She believed part of the problem was the lack of a
speed warning on the particular bend and she had written to
the LTSA to ask for that.
Brown had remained with Mr Madill and comforted him until an
She had been ''shocked and saddened'' when she learned of his
A psychological report referred to the extreme hardship she
could suffer if her name was published. But Judge Flatley
said the public had a right to know about such offending. It
involved an issue of public safety. It had been moderately
serious and was accentuated by the defendant's relatively
poor driving history. It was not just ''an unfortunate
one-off lapse of attention''.
And while the victim did not die as a result of the accident,
but ultimately of pneumonia, the impact of the accident was
likely to have contributed to that, the judge said. Although
the defendant had expressed particular concerns about what
could happen if her name was published, the judge said he
could not imagine other people would react in such a way ''in
such tragic circumstances''.
He declined to grant final name suppression.