Victim's partner condemns award

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by B.G. Finlay It, May 16, 2003.

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  1. www.thecourier.co.uk/febcourierrede/NewStory.cfm?StoryID=33671&Today=160503

    Blair.
     
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  2. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On 16 May 2003 16:16:55 +0100, [email protected] (B.G. Finlay IT Services) wrote:

    >www.thecourier.co.uk/febcourierrede/NewStory.cfm?StoryID=33671&Today=160503

    You can find it by clicking about a bit but here's the text:

    A WORMIT man who lost his partner in a road accident in New Zealand yesterday condemned a
    compensation award against a local driver of a few hundred pounds as derisory, and warned a charity
    cycling event from the UK which is heading for the southern hemisphere to think again.

    What should have been a holiday of a lifetime in March for Wormit couple Duncan Leith (50) and Irena
    Riddler (48) ended in tragedy when Irena was killed in a road accident on South Island.

    The couple, who had cycled together all over the world, were only one week into a three-week tour of
    New Zealand. As they were cycling on State Highway 1, near Seddon in Marlborough, Irena was struck
    from behind by a van, thrown from her bike and killed instantly.

    Irena had been systems librarian at Dundee University, following education at Blackness Primary and
    Harris Academy in Dundee and work with the local authority library service.

    Last night, Duncan, who works in Dundee, was incensed to learn from a local detective who had
    investigated the case that John Metherell, a nurseryman, had been ordered to make reparation to
    Irena’s family of 2000 dollars-about £500-and banned from driving for a year.

    He had admitted a charge of careless driving causing death, and the judge, who at an earlier hearing
    described the incident as "a slight mistake by a driver which has had appalling consequences", also
    noted he had a previous conviction for careless driving.

    He said yesterday, "At the very least, the order made by the judge is derisory. This driver was on
    an open road, with very little light traffic, when he swerved inwards, inside the white line for
    cyclists, and smashed into Irena. He had a three-metre space to go past and this was murder."

    Duncan added it was one of the worst cases he had ever heard. "At an earlier stage, he tried to
    claim that Irena had swerved out into the road but the evidence suggested otherwise and he admitted
    the charge. He had no defence."

    He said he had tried to raise a civil action against the driver, but the civil law in such cases in
    New Zealand meant there was only a token payment made by the government, which in his case amounted
    to only a few hundred pounds.

    He said he had serious concerns about a forthcoming charity event to be held in New Zealand
    involving cyclists from all over the UK.

    "I would absolutely advise these people to think twice. I have cycled all over the world and this
    place is hell on earth. Helmets are compulsory, but they are absolutely no use in an accident such
    as we experienced."

    He thanked the detective who had earlier probed the case, and who had been in touch to inform him of
    the sentence handed down to the driver.

    "He sympathised with us and knew that we would be appalled by the sentence," added Duncan.

    Guy
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