A crash driver has been found guilty today of causing the
death of his friend and leaving him to die on the side of the
road - but not guilty of a more serious charge that drink was
likely behind the fatal crash.
A jury took just over two hours to find Cody Marcus John
Pierce, 23, guilty of careless driving causing the death of
43-year old Christchurch man Sean Frost while under the
influence of drink "in a matter that is not an offence
against the Land Transport Act".
He was also found guilty of being a driver involved in an
accident where someone was killed or injured after he failed
to stop and ascertain injury and give "all practicable
However, he was found not guilty of the more serious charge
of causing Mr Frost's death by carelessly driving while under
the influence of drink to such an extent "as to be incapable
of having proper control of the vehicle".
The Christchurch District Court heard during the week-long
trial that Pierce had been drinking bourbon and cola cans at
a Darfield party before driving him and his mate into a power
pole near West Melton, rural Canterbury, about 9pm on October
The jury was shown a text he sent to his girlfriend at 7pm
which declared he was "drunk".
At about 9pm, Pierce was driving with Mr Frost in the front
passenger seat when he failed to take a moderate bend as he
approached a T-intersection.
Pierce, a disqualified driver at the time, went onto the
grass verge, narrowly missed a power pole, crossed the
intersection and hit another power pole.
A friend who had been following behind, helped Pierce remove
the seriously injured Mr Frost from the vehicle and lie him
on the ground beside it.
A member of the public at the scene said Pierce claimed to
have already phoned emergency services, but the Crown said
there was no evidence he had.
Pierce's friend then drove him away from the scene and he
flew to Australia within 24 hours.
Mr Frost died in hospital five days later.
Defence counsel Richard Maze argued there was nothing more
Pierce could have done to help Mr Frost.
Pierce was never tested for being over the limit. Mr Maze
said witnesses were wrong to think that Pierce had been
intoxicated that day. He said Pierce had consumed just four
drinks over a period of five hours.
Pierce will be sentenced on November 19.
He was granted bail until then by Judge Alistair Garland on
the sole basis that he had returned from Australia
voluntarily to face the charges.
However, the judge told Pierce it was "very likely" he would
receive a jail term when he was sentenced.
- By Kurt Bayer of APNZ