Evidence ‘evaporates’ over alleged car incident

Court House-general 3Evidence “evaporation” has led to the police dropping a charge alleging a man was run down with a car while he was on the run from police.

The charge against Kane Harris Joseph Johnston-Walters, 25, was formally dismissed in the Christchurch District Court today when prosecutor Sergeant Dave Murray said the police did not wish to continue with the charge.

Johnston-Walters, a scaffolder, had pleaded not guilty to the charge of reckless driving causing injury to James Arthur Matthew Brown, 47, who was himself evading the police at the time of the incident.

“There has been a significant amount of evaporation of evidence in this case,” Sergeant Murray told Judge Jane Farish. “The witness has now become unco-operative and likewise the victim.”

The judge told Johnston-Walters: “The charge is formally dismissed. You are free to go.”

Brown has admitted threatening to kill his partner of seven months in an incident on February 13.

Since then he has also admitted charges of using a knife as a weapon in an assault on a man and intentionally damaging a tyre belonging to the same man – not Johnston-Walters.

He has been remanded on bail for sentence early next month.

After the February incident, Brown was on the run from police for about a week before he was located and arrested at the hospital where he had been taken with serious injuries.

The police at the time alleged he had been taken to hospital after being run over in a Riccarton carpark.

His initial court appearance was delayed because he was still in hospital but he eventually appeared in a wheelchair, with casts on both his legs.

The judge asked Brown if the injuries that led to him being wheelchair-bound were permanent.

Brown told him: “I have two broken heels…screw in each heel. It is not permanent.”

In 2008, Johnston-Walters was jailed but given leave to apply for more home detention in the High Court at Invercargill on charges of cannabis dealing while he was already serving a term of home detention for possession of a cannabis pipe and an offensive weapon.

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