Accused was laughing before fatal crash: witness

A man accused of inciting reckless driving in a fatal crash was laughing before the accident, a witness claims.

Helen Ruth was one of the witnesses on the second day of the trial of Taine Rupena Tata Bryn Edwards in the High Court at Invercargill yesterday.

She told the court she was driving in Tweed St about 20 minutes before the accident, when a "green car overtook" her in the bicycle lane.

"The window was down at the passenger side, so the passenger looked back at me and laughed and threw some boxes over the window."

Edwards had earlier pleaded not guilty to eight charges, including manslaughter by inciting and encouraging the driver to operate a vehicle recklessly, thereby causing death.

He also denied three counts of inciting and encouraging the driver to operate a vehicle recklessly, thereby causing injury, one alternative charge of dangerous driving causing death and three alternative charges of dangerous driving causing injury.

On December 7, 2018, Emma Bagley died when the car she was in with her husband, Leonard, and their two children, Eva and Flynn, was T-boned by a car driven by Dejay Rawiri Kane.

Edwards was in the passenger seat.

Defence counsel Fiona Guy Kidd QC asked Ms Ruth if she could have been mistaken by the laughing, but the witness was adamant.

Nicholas Hansen told the court he was drinking and playing golf at Queens Park with Kane and Edwards on the afternoon of the crash.

During cross-examination, Mrs Guy Kidd asked him if it was possible he was the one seated in the passenger seat at any time of that day. He denied that.

Mr Hansen also said he had to ask Kane to "slow down" when he was driving him home because he wanted to arrive home alive.

Constable David McLardy said he was getting ready leave for work from his home, which was near the crash site, when the sound of a car speeding attracted his attention.

He saw "a large cloud of dust" as he ran from his house to where the accident happened.

Under cross-examination, Mrs Guy Kidd asked Const McLardy if he had directed any kind of "abusive comment" towards the defendant. He could not recall if he had.

Const McLardy said he had pointed to the car and said to Edwards, who was conscious, "This is your fault. That’s on you. That’s what you have done."

Const McLardy said Edwards told him he "could not talk to him that way" and asked for his credentials from fellow officers in the scene.

The trial before Justice Cameron Mander continues tomorrow.

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