Cop pleads guilty to careless driving

A veteran cop whose motorcycle collided with another officer's during police motorbike training has pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving.

Sergeant Mark Moody, who has more than 30 years' police experience, had been riding in formation with a police motorcycle convoy when the crash happened in rural Carterton on January 22 last year.

Moody and another officer were injured in the crash.

Moody was then charged by police with careless use of a motorcycle causing injury.

He pleaded guilty to the charge before Judge Tom Broadmore at Wellington District Court this morning.

He was disqualified from driving for a month.

Moody had been taking part in a two-day police motorcycle re-certification course run by an instructor from the Royal College of Police when the crash occurred.

Seven officers and the instructor had been riding in convoy in a staggered formation from Ohakea in the central North Island towards Wellington.

They had already been riding for six hours that day, and one and half hours without a break, when Moody crashed into the back of the bike of the lead rider - who had slowed down for a stop.

Moody and another officer in the convoy had previously made separate requests using police radio for a break.

The instructor, who was riding at the rear of the formation, had indicated there would be a stop, but failed to notify all the officers where and when it would be.

Moody's lawyer, Letizea Ord, today referred to two investigation reports into the incident, undertaken by police and an expert on behalf of the defence, which noted the long riding period, absence of stops and lack of communication to the wider riding group regarding the stop which led to the crash contributed to the incident.

Judge Broadmore convicted Moody and disqualified him from driving for one month.

Moody accepted responsibility for the accidents and deeply regretted injuries caused to his fellow officer", Ms Ord said.

Both Moody, 51, and the other officer required hospital treatment for injuries caused in the accident.

The second officer involved was still having physiotherapy treatment on his left hand, which was injured in the accident. He also had concussion, chest contusions, bruising and hurt his right hip.

Ms Ord said Moody's injuries had required at least three months off work. He also underwent a hip joint replacement operation in August last year due to his injuries.

In addition to highlighting criticism of the instructor's decisions by the two reports into the accident, Ms Ord noted the formation taken by the riders when the accident occurred had not been ideal.

The convoy had slowed to about 60km/h when the lead rider, who was to the right of the formation, pulled to the left for a stop after a shallow bend in the road.

Moody, who was to the left of the formation, collided with the lead rider's bike.

"When riding through multiple corners, such as in the Wairarapa, the group formation of one behind the other with a legal following would have been preferable to avoid the known risk of a nose to tail crash," Ms Ord said.

Police prosecutor Mark Wilton also responded to submissions made by Ms Ord criticising the police for charging her client as the investigation reports showed faults in the instructors handling of the convoy, which the police were ultimately responsible for.

Mr Wilton said the police prosecution service operated autonomously from police.

- By Matthew Backhouse and Teuila Fuatai of APNZ



Add a Comment