‘No intention to return to NZ’

A Californian man who skipped the country after being involved in an accident in Queenstown’s Frankton Road no longer has New Zealand lawyers acting for him, and has changed his mind about participating in restorative justice.

While Judge Geoff Rea declined an application for continued name suppression in Queenstown’s court on April 27, at that stage it was indicated the 73-year-old would appeal the decision, meaning the interim order’s still in play.

The man wasn’t arrested at the scene following the incident on January 27.

Instead, he flew to Auckland and soon after returned to his home country, before police could charge him, or serve him with a summons to appear in court.

He was subsequently charged with dangerous driving causing injury to Sara Duan, but has so far remained in the United States.

When the matter was called in Queenstown’s court on April 24, police applied to amend the charge to aggravated careless driving causing injury, but Rea questioned what jurisdiction the court had to sentence him at all.

During that hearing, the man was represented by lawyer Ben Alexander, of Todd & Walker Law, who was acting on instructions.

At that stage, he’d shown a willingness to engage in the court process and restorative justice, and was remanded at large to June 6 for restorative justice to take place.

In court on Monday, though, prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin said the Invercargill-based restorative justice team contacted police late last week indicating the defendant had since had a ‘‘change of mind’’ and didn’t wish to participate in the process.

A memorandum from his counsel had also been received, in which they withdrew from acting on his behalf.

Collin said the defendant remained in the US.

He believed the man had ‘‘no intention to return to NZ to have this matter dealt with in person’’.

On that basis, police sought a warrant for his arrest, in lieu of a summons.

However, Judge Catriona Doyle declined to issue the warrant on Monday because the man was not aware of that hearing or police’s application.

Given he knew the matter would next be called on June 6, it was possible he might engage new counsel and re-engage with restorative justice in the interim, she said.

‘‘He needs to be put on notice that’s where the police are go ing with this.’’

Other convictions

● Louie Lanz, 38,of Queenstown, breaching alcohol interlock licence, Frankton Rd, Queenstown, November 19, alcohol interlock provisions, fined $500, court costs $130.

● Ethan James Haigh, 27, carpenter, of Lower Shotover, drink-driving, 452mcg, Frankton-Ladies Mile Highway, Queenstown, April 27, fined
$500, court costs $130, disqualified six months.

● Maxime Michel Prigent, 22, of France, drink-driving, 824mcg, Memorial Street, Queenstown, April 21, fined $800, court costs $130, disqualified six months.

● Adrian James van der Voorn, 38, gib stopper, of Lower Shotover, drink-driving, 97mg, Frankton-Ladies Mile Highway, Queenstown, April
27, fined $600, court costs $130, analyst fees $111.99, disqualified six months.

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