Suppression granted in fatal crash case

A Canterbury businessmen has been granted name suppression until trial on a charge of careless driving causing the death of a motorcyclist killed in a Northern Motorway crash in December.

The man’s company, where he holds a senior position, supported his application for suppression before Judge John Strettell in the Christchurch District Court today.

The company had its own lawyer in court to argue that it would suffer hardship if his name was published when he held a leadership role.

Judge Strettell considered submissions from defence counsel Andrew McCormick, for the driver, and from his employer, and from the NZME reporter in court. The police did not oppose name suppression being granted.

The company said identifying the man would also identify his employer.

The man appeared before a Community Magistrate last week and pleaded not guilty to the careless driving causing death charge, and the case was remanded to a case review hearing on July 9.

Judge Strettell ruled that the suppression issue did not need to be considered at the case review and would continue to apply until the trial.

The accident happened on the motorway’s Tram Road on-ramp at 3.30pm on December 9, when a motorcyclist and a vehicle towing a trailer, driven by the defendant, collided.

The motorcyclist, Rangiora barman Ben Caldicott-Elwell, 34, died after being rushed to hospital in a serious condition.

The motorcyclist’s family opposed the granting of suppression, saying that the name of the dead man had been reported in coverage of the crash at the time and they did not have the opportunity to grieve privately before it was publicised. They said they saw no reason why the defendant should be treated in a different way.

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