R v Duffell [2020] NZDC 1704

Published 12 June 2020

Sentencing — aggravated driving causing death — drug driving — driving while forbidden — Kao v Police [2015] NZHC 1793 — Queen v Ko [2012] NZHC 3812 — Haskell v Police [2012] NZHC 118 — Hanley v Police High Court Rotorua, 10 March 2010. The defendant appeared for sentence on a charge of aggravated driving causing death. When driving home from work the defendant had swerved in and out of lanes on the road, causing a truck and trailer to swerve to avoid him. Unfortunately the victim, who was driving a different vehicle, could not avoid the defendant and there was a crash. Both drivers were trapped in their vehicles and the victim later died of his severe injuries. A blood test revealed the defendant had THC in his system, but there was no evidence he had been driving while high on cannabis. The Judge adopted a starting sentence of two years' imprisonment. No uplifts or reductions were given, other than a 25 per cent decrease for the defendant's guilty plea. The main issue was whether the sentence should be converted to home detention. Given the defendant's remorse and solid support system the Judge was satisfied home detention would denounce and deter the defendant's conduct. It would allow for his rehabilitation immediately and mean he could be employed and in a position to make reparation payments to the victim's family. The end sentence was nine months' home detention. Judgment Date: 31 January 2020.