R v Le Roux [2018] NZDC 26177

Published 17 December 2018

Sentencing - Dangerous driving - causing death - Sentencing Act 2002. The defendant appeared for sentencing having pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing death. The defendant had consumed an unknown quantity of alcohol and cannabis prior to driving. On entering a motorway she failed to see a young boy on a small bicycle crossing the pedestrian crossing. The defendant hit the boy, who died of his injuries at the scene. The defendant failed to stop and did not report the incident until the following day. Victim impact statements, described as heart-wrenching, were read to the court. The court noted the need for the defendant to be held accountable and the need to deter others from similar offending while taking into account the requirement to impose the least restrictive penalty available. From a starting point of three years and three months imprisonment, discounts were applied in relation to the defendant's personal circumstances, including young age, and mental health issues,no previous convictions, an early guilty plea and remorse. Noting that home detention itself is a serious punishment with a significant element of deterrence, in light of the the defendant's age and personal circumstances, a sentence of home detention coupled with community work was considered to meet the requirements of the Sentencing Act. Conditions of the home detention included that the defendant was not to possess, consume or use alcohol or non-prescription drugs and attend any programme/counselling as directed by a probation officer. Judicial monitoring was also imposed. The defendant was sentenced to 11 months' home detention with post-detention conditions for an additional 12 months along with 250 hours of community work. She was disqualified from driving or holding a driver's licence for two and a half years. Judgment Date: 14 December 2018.