A farmer living near Mt Aspiring Rd rang police to report the
driver of a ''high speed'' car which soon afterwards crashed,
the Queenstown District Court was told yesterday.
Following a trial before Judge Christina Cook, Michael David
Clayton (23), engineer, of Albert Town, was yesterday found
guilty of dangerous driving on Mt Aspiring Rd, west of
Wanaka, on November 6.
Just before 8pm, Clayton was driving a V8 Commodore with one
passenger, Bonnie Yan Lan.
Farmer John McRae said he was in his woolshed when he heard
the vehicle coming, sounding ''like it was travelling at a
very high speed''.
He went to his house to call the police and report the
vehicle because he was ''worried for the safety of the people
in the valley I knew coming home''.
Ms Yan Lan told Judge Cook she and Clayton had planned to
head to Diamond Lake but darkness fell quickly and they
decided to ''head back''.
As Clayton negotiated a corner, the tail of the car ''kicked
out'', the car spun and hit a bank. Neither of the occupants
''It was a scary experience ... I guess out of a not-so-good
situation I'm just glad no-one got hurt ... we were so close
to the power pole.''
She had not looked at the speedometer and had ''no idea'' how
fast Clayton was travelling at the time, but told the police
after the incident he was ''probably going a little bit
fast'' around the 65kmh corner. However, she told the court
at no point before the incident had she felt fearful.
Constable Sharon Stephens examined the car at the scene and
found the rear left tyre was ''marginal'' but the rear right
was ''so worn away that the ... braiding of the tyres was
Clayton said he had replaced two tyres due to ''two unlucky
punctures'' and was aware the tyres were ''worn'' but did not
realise they would not have passed a warrant of fitness.
He admitted to police at one point during the journey he had
reached speeds of about 130kmh, but at the time of the crash
estimated he was doing about 80kmh.
Judge Cook said based on the evidence she believed the crash
was caused by a combination of excessive speed and the
vehicle fault, which proved the charge beyond reasonable
''If there had just been the excessive speed itself, I'm
unsure as to whether the level of dangerousness would have
been satisfied. However, the combination of that level of
speed and the state of the rear tyres ... leads me to the
conclusion that the driving, in all circumstances, was
Clayton was fined $650, court costs $130, ordered to pay $50
witness expenses and disqualified for six months.
Disputed factsMatthew Messerschmidt (27), of Cromwell, was
convicted and remanded on bail for sentencing on August 12
following a disputed facts hearing in Queenstown yesterday.
Messerschmidt had previously admitted being a male assaulting
Kate Robinson at Cromwell on February 15 following an
argument between the two.
Ms Robinson alleged her former partner had punched her ''six
or seven times'', including punches to the stomach area while
she was on a couch.
Messerschmidt contended he punched her twice in response to
alleged kicks to his legs.
Judge Cook said she accepted Ms Robinson's evidence and found
Messerschmidt punched her four times, twice in the living
area of the property and twice in the kitchen.
Messerschmidt had three previous convictions for male
assaults female, two of those domestic incidents; three
previous common assault convictions and one conviction for
Judge Cook ordered a presentence report to address home and
community detention options before his sentencing in the
Alexandra District Court.