No justice here

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Businessman Mike Ford is another Queenstowner out of pocket after a crash involving a foreign driver. 

Ford, who owns Glenda Drive firm Laser Electrical, was left shaking his head at Queenstown District Court on Tuesday morning when judge Michael Turner didn’t order Indian driver Mohit Dhanjibhai Patel, 22, to pay him any reparations. 

Patel had admitted causing a head-on smash with one of the firm’s vans near Frankton last month. 

The accident left Queenstown electrician Scott McIvor with a broken leg, fractured ankle and deep cuts to his face.
Patel was ordered to pay $5700 in reparation to McIvor, along with a $1000 payment for emotional harm and $1608 in reparation to McIvor’s parents. 

But there was no pay-out for Ford who says: “I’m pleased that Scott did get reparation and good reparation, that’s good. 

“But it’s frustrating that we had put in claims to the police for uninsurable losses but they have just been overlooked. 

I’m fairly comprehensively insured but there are things you cannot insure, such as the signwriting on the van, the shelves and the ladder rack,” Ford says. 

“It will take time to work through it and work out how much. We do not even know at the moment what the excess for the insurance will be, whether it will be waived or not.” 

McIvor spent a week in Southland Hospital and won’t be able to return to work for at least a month. He is unlikely to be able to use a ladder, an essential part of his trade, for three months. 

Patel, who suffered major abdominal injuries, couldn’t recall the crash at the on the highway out of Queenstown. It happened on the eve of Winter Festival’s opening party on June 22, just after 5pm. 

Patel’s wife and other passengers in the car, which veered across double yellow lines, were also injured, suffering lacerations and broken bones. 

Patel pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous driving and was disqualified from New Zealand roads for a year. He intended to return to India on Tuesday afternoon this week. 

Ford says: “It’s just frustrating that somebody can drive on the wrong side of the road, be unaware of what the driving conditions are in this country, and then come up with 10 grand and leave the country and there still be debts and people affected.” 

That victim McIvor got reparation puts him in the lucky bracket. 

Last month, Queenstown veteran police officer senior constable Chris Blackford told Mountain Scene many victims in crashes with foreigners are very unlikely to get their money back – even if reparation is ordered. 

“Once they leave the country the chances, for the most part getting any money out of them, are almost non-existent. 

“There are honourable people out there who come to the party and compensate victims of their actions but it’s the exception not the rule.”