Businessman fined, banned over bike crash


A prominent Queenstown businessman has been fined $1000 and disqualified from driving for 12 months after a motorcycle crash that left him, and his passenger, seriously injured.

Skyline Enterprises director and shareholder Philip John Hensman, 64, was found guilty last month on a charge of causing injury to Sharon Ann Gower by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol.

The crash happened in December 2013 on a bend in Littles Road, Dalefield – during a joyride on a friend’s motorcycle.

Hensman was vaulted over the machine’s handlebars and suffered a serious head injury, while Gower received 19 stitches for a head gash after her helmet came off in the crash, as well as cuts and grazes. 

Hensman’s sentencing by Judge Tony Couch in the Queenstown District Court last Thursday followed a judge-alone trial in March and April.

Couch says there were three key elements to the gravity of the offence.

They were: the “moderate” degree of carelessness; the serious head injury suffered by Hensman, which caused a “significant change to his personality and his ability to enjoy life the way he used to”; and his blood-alcohol level, which at 69mg was significantly over the current limit of 50mg.

The limit at the time was 80mg.

Couch, who praised Hensman’s “exceptional character”, says: “This aspect of the gravity of the charge is substantial.”

Despite having little memory of the crash, “he now accepts that he was responsible for what occurred”.

The sentence did not require a rehabilitation or deterrence factor, the latter being provided by the “personal suffering that he has undergone and continues to undergo”.

The $1000 fine was 10 per cent of the maximum available for the charge, while the 12-month disqualification was the minimum period possible.