Home detention for drink-driver who struck pedestrian

A drink-driver who hit a man walking on the footpath in Cambridge Terrace, then left the scene, was sentenced to seven months’ home detention and ordered to pay $7500 to the victim, in the Christchurch District Court.

Daniel Clifford Watson, a 28-year-old glazier from Belfast, was being sentenced on dangerous driving, and drink-driving charges – where he was more than four times the 250mcg of alcohol per litre breath-limit.

On May 5 Watson drove on Durham Street at about 84km an hour in a 30km an hour area. He failed to take the corner of Cambridge Terrace and Gloucester Street and drove onto the footpath at speed, hitting his victim from behind.

At Watson’s last appearance in court in August, the victim’s father read his son’s victim impact report to the judge.

He said his son was walking on the footpath booking a taxi home on his phone, and the next thing he remembered was being in hospital with casts on both arms, and a metal frame down his leg.

His injuries led to three weeks in hospital, eight weeks in a wheel chair with broken arms, and eight weeks on crutches. His leg is not likely to recover fully, and he had continuing back pain from his vertebrate fracture, he said.

Watson left his son on the ground, and left the scene, which were inexcusable actions, he said.

Today defence counsel Natalie Wham said Watson had repaired the car involved in the accident and it was ready to be sold to help pay reparation to his victim. He had also written a letter apologising to him.

Judge Raoul Neave said the accident caused severe injury to the man, with devastating effects and long-term negative aspects that could be permanent.

He said Watson had a previous conviction for drink-driving, and one under the youth limit. He was currently under supervision for an assault charge.

Watson had an understanding and supportive employer, and continuing work would make him able to pay reparation, Judge Neave said.

A restorative justice meeting was declined by the victim, but Judge Neave said Watson was remorseful and was addressing his issues.

He sentenced him to seven months’ home detention, disqualified him from driving for 12 months, and ordered him to pay $7500 reparation to his victim.


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