The drowsy driver who caused a head-on smash that killed
Timaru financier Allan Hubbard has been fined $2500.
Andrew John Earl, a 42-year-old plasterer from Mosgiel, was
earlier found guilty for the September 2, 2011 crash after
his ute crossed the centre line and collided with a car being
driven by Mr Hubbard's elderly wife Jean.
Mr Hubbard, 83, died shortly after the crash on State Highway
1, just north of Oamaru, and his wife was injured.
After a defended hearing before Judge Gary MacAskill, it was
found that Earl was drowsy or had fallen asleep at the wheel.
Today at Christchurch District Court, the judge fined him
$2500 after finding that his carelessness had been
Judge MacAskill said sentence was not designed to mirror the
horrific consequences of the crash.
He said that not much more would be achieved by community
work. Earl was also disqualified from driving for 12
The court heard that Mrs Hubbard did not seek reparation.
Jean Hubbard, 82, can't recall anything of the fatal smash.
She woke up in Oamaru Hospital worried that maybe she was to
blame for her husband's death.
But it was Earl who was charged, with careless driving
causing death and careless driving causing injury.
When Earl's trial began in early June at Oamaru District
Court, sitting in Timaru, the court heard how the Hubbards
had set off from their Timaru home to visit relatives in
They stopped to eat ice creams in Glenavy, in the deep south
of Canterbury, shortly before the smash.
A witness told the court of his concerns over Earl's
"erratic'' driving shortly before the crash.
He said that in his rearview mirror, he saw Earl's red Holden
Rodeo 4WD ute drift into the Hubbards' oncoming white Honda
Jazz, causing the crash.
Judge MacAskill rejected defence claims that Mrs Hubbard had
been distracted eating the ice cream while driving, and it
was Earl that was trying to avoid the head-on crash when the
collision occurred at about 1.15pm.
"It is reasonable to infer - and I do infer - that the
defendant ceased to control his vehicle as a result of
drowsiness or having fallen asleep,'' Judge MacAskill ruled.
Earl should have been aware of his drowsiness and stopped
driving until he was sufficiently alert.
"His failure to do so was careless,'' said Judge MacAskill.
Today, Earl's Dunedin-based lawyer, John Westgate, said he
was "so sorry'' for what happened and its "catastrophic
While Earl accepted the judge's findings that he was drowsy
or had nodded off at the wheel, he was struggling to accept
responsibility for it, Mr Westgate said.
He had been driving for 25 years, had a clean record, and
"doesn't make a habit of driving while tired''. If he had
been drifting off, he would've pulled over.
He was in no hurry that day, Mr Westgate said, and had had a
good night's sleep.
At the time of his death, Mr Hubbard's firm, Aorangi
Securities was being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office
(SFO) and was placed in statutory management in June 2010,
owing investors up to $100 million.
The SFO laid 50 charges against Mr Hubbard under the Crimes
Act but those were dropped shortly after his death.
In a statement, Mrs Hubbard welcomed the case's conclusion so
that both the Hubbard and the Earl families could now "move
on with their lives, as her late husband would have wanted''.
"She bears no ill will towards Mr Earl or his family arising
out of the accident,'' the statement said.
Outside Christchurch District Court, Earl was asked how he
felt, and said: "I'm not really too sure to be honest."
Pushed on his apology issued inside the courtroom by his
lawyer, he added: "I've always had a lot of empathy towards