Address to parents by judge

A District Court judge was apologetic to the parents of a Northern Irish woman after resentencing a 50-year-old woman on a charge of careless driving causing the death of their daughter.

Tracy Joy Shaw appeared before Judge David Robinson in the Alexandra District Court on Thursday for resentencing on the charge of careless driving causing the death of Kirsty Samantha Moffett (28) on December 13, 2020.

Shaw was originally sentenced in July by Judge Emma Smith to 120 hours of community work, was disqualified from driving for 15 months and ordered to pay reparation of $7500.

Moffett was living and working in Dunedin as a physiotherapist and was returning from a weekend celebrating her birthday in Queenstown when the crash happened.

The women were travelling in opposite directions along a straight stretch of road in Scotland St, Roxburgh, and within the 80kmh limit when Shaw’s vehicle swerved suddenly and crossed the centre line into the southbound lane.

Shaw’s vehicle hit the driver’s door of the oncoming car, instantly killing Miss Moffett.

At the time, Shaw told police she could not remember the crash, in which she and her son suffered minor injuries.

Judge Smith said in July there was no clear explanation as to why Shaw crossed the centre line.

She decided there was a level of culpability after medical tests suggested Shaw could be suffering from cardiovascular issues but it is not known if that caused her to lose consciousness.

On Thursday, the court was told that of the 120 hours community work Shaw was sentenced to, 96.75 hours were yet to be completed, after Shaw had the sentence cancelled for medical reasons but it had since been decided she could complete the sentence on ‘‘light duties’’ through an agency placement.

Robinson agreed to that in resentencing.

Miss Moffett’s parents were privy to the proceeding via audiovisual link from their Northern Ireland home and Judge Robinson spoke to them directly.

He explained he was bound by the sentence of Judge Smith, explained it had been cancelled before he had to reconsider it and he did not have ‘‘carte blanche’’ to sentence Shaw otherwise.

‘‘It does not diminish the value of a human life but the sentence imposed on the woman convicted of this was the appropriate one.

‘‘All I can really do is offer my condolences ... and I express my deepest sympathy to you.’’

jared.morgan@odt.co.nz

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