How to murder someone in New Zealand and (mostly) get away with it

An 88-year-old Oamaru man has been disqualified from driving for three years and ordered to pay $10,000 to his victims after driving on to a footpath in Oamaru and killing a pedestrian and injuring three others.

Waikouaiti man Gerald James Cowley, 67, was killed in the January 2016 incident, in which William Arthur Lee drove on to the footpath at the corner of Eden and Thames St, hitting three pedestrians before continuing back on to Thames St, where his car was struck by two vehicles.

A 70-year-old woman suffered multiple injuries and was transported to Dunedin Hospital and a 13-year-old girl was treated for injuries at Oamaru Hospital.

All three drivers involved in the crash were also taken to Oamaru Hospital for treatment.

Lee was to face trial in Timaru District Court this week, but this morning changed his plea to guilty on all four charges he faced: one charge of operating a motor vehicle carelessly causing death, and three of careless use of a motor vehicle causing injury.

I’ve always been amazed at how cheap a life is when it is taken with a motor vehicle.   People assume some degree of carelessness, but not malice.

So it’s the perfect way to commit murder.   Just plow into someone and you are talking $10k and three years without a drivers license while the family is short a human being forever.

Sounds like a cheap deal to me.

If you are smart, you can lay some groundwork for sleep apnea or a minor heart event in advance.  A few minor dings you claim on your insurance to show a history of running off the road.

And then one day – bang – the Mrs is flattened at the end of the driveway.

I’m being sarcastic of course.  My real problem is that in the courts the value of a life is shamefully cheap when it is taken with a motor vehicle.


– NZ Herald


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