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Careless driver dodges conviction

A woman was discharged without conviction but was disqualified from driving after crashing into a stationary car near Eketahuna and injuring the person inside.

Ōpaki gardener Rachel Holdsworth, 54, appeared in Masterton District Court last week charged with careless driving causing injury.

On November 29, 2022, Holdsworth drifted over the centre line while driving on SH2, south of Anzac Bridge near Eketāhuna.

She crashed into a stationary vehicle parked on the side of the road, sending it flying 30 metres back onto the road.

The victim dislocated and broke her wrist, broke her collarbone, and suffered a 20cm laceration.

The victim said in her impact statement that she had ongoing issues with her left wrist, which was getting worse with time.

It had been in a cast since the crash, and she was told she might need wrist fusion surgery or even a wrist replacement.

The victim said she had to resign from her job because the concussion she suffered from the crash meant she could no longer handle the stress of her role.

She sold her house because she did not want to drive long distances anymore.

Defence lawyer James Elliott said his client acknowledged the seriousness of her offending and was remorseful.

Elliot said a conviction and full disqualification would make it more difficult or impossible for Holdsworth to continue working or to travel to see family in the United States of America.

He said she was willing to make an emotional harm payment of $1000 to the victim to express her remorse; Elliott noted it was a significant sum for someone employed as a gardener.

Police prosecutor Seargent Daniel Scott said police opposed a discharge without conviction because of the impact the offending had on the victim.

Seargent Scott said the victim said she would donate the $1000 to charity.

Judge Nicola Wills agreed that the offending had significantly harmed the victim.

“When driving, even a minor act of carelessness can have severe consequences,” she said.

“But the maximum penalty [for careless driving] is restricted to three months in recognition that we can all have careless moments.”

Judge Wills discharged Holdsworth without conviction, saying that the impact of a conviction would be out of proportion to the offending.

Despite not being convicted, Holdsworth was ordered to pay $1000 reparation to the victim and disqualified from driving for six months, with the condition that she could apply for a limited license to continue driving for work.

1 COMMENT

  1. Why was Rachel Holdsworth discharged without conviction but disqualified from driving after crashing into a stationary car near Eketahuna and injuring the person inside? What factors did the judge consider in making this decision?

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