Home detention for manslaughter

Motorcyclist Jacques John Francis Mark de Reeper had repeatedly advised other riders public roads were not the place for racing motorcycles.

Yesterday, de Reeper was sentenced to nine months’ home detention for dangerous driving and the manslaughter of Garth Robinson after Mr Robinson died in a crash while the two were out playing cat and mouse on their motorcycles on April 13, 2019.

Sickness beneficiary de Reeper (64) admitted dangerous driving and the manslaughter of Garth Robinson at a High Court appearance on April 13 this year.

At the High Court sentencing in Invercargill yesterday, Justice Gerald Nation said Mr Robinson and de Reeper had been overtaking each other at high speeds after leaving the Orepuki Cafe to travel to Invercargill on the day of the crash.

After overtaking de Reeper at 240kmh, Mr Robinson had come to a corner which had a cautionary sign of 75kmh.

"Travelling at 240kmh, Mr Robinson may not have even seen the sign," Justice Nation said.

Although Mr Robinson had applied his front brakes just before the crash, he careered off the road, through a fence and ended up in a paddock.

Justice Nation said while de Reeper had originally told police he had not exceeded 100kmh the whole day while out riding, footage taken from a camera on Mr Robinson’s bike had shown he had reached almost double that speed — 192kmh.

Witnesses to the crash said the sound of the motorcycles sounded like Formula One cars racing.

Mr Robinson had contributed significantly to his own death by travelling at a "grossly excessive" speed allowing for no margin of error, Justice Nation said.

However, the way de Reeper had ridden was also a significant contributor to Mr Robinson riding his bike at the speed he did.

De Reeper had known Mr Robinson had not had his Suzuki GSX bike, which could reach speeds of between 303kmh and 312kmh, for very long.

Before buying the bike, Mr Robinson had previously ridden a 100cc trail bike.

De Reeper was an experienced motorcyclist who had been involved in Southland motorcycling racing.

A reference read out in court, spoke of how de Reeper had frequently repeated the importance of riding safely on public roads with a statement he would frequently repeat to riders.

"The road is for riding and the track is for racing; do not confuse the two pieces of pavement," Justice Nation read out.

Victim impact statements showed the death of their son was particularly hard for Mr Robinson’s elderly parents.

While de Reeper had stopped at the scene and had entered a guilty plea, Justice Nation was not persuaded de Reeper had shown tangible remorse for his part in the crash.

He also disqualified de Reeper from driving for two years.

karen.pasco@odt.co.nz

 

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