Fam­ily’s shock at jail sen­tence


The fam­ily of a Cromwell man who con­trib­uted to the death of his friend say they are ‘‘numb and in dis­be­lief’’ at his shock jail sen­tence.

Cody Ethan Mitchell, 23, of Cromwell, was sen­tenced to 15 months’ in prison with­out the pos­si­bil­ity of early re­lease for care­less driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol caus­ing death.

His friend, An­drew Paul Grubb, 20, of Palmer­ston, died in Dunedin Hos­pi­tal five days af­ter he fell from a quad bike driven by Mitchell in the early hours of Septem­ber 11.

Mitchell’s fa­ther Steve Mitchell said he was not look­ing to ex­on­er­ate his son from the con­se­quences of his ac­tions and ex­pressed his deep­est sym­pa­thy to the Grubb fam­ily.

But he ‘‘most def­i­nitely’’ did not agree with the sen­tence handed down in the Alexan­dra District Court last week.

The Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions, po­lice and Mitchell’s lawyer Jus­tine Baird had sought a sen­tence of home de­ten­tion.

At a De­cem­ber 6 hear­ing, Judge Do­minic Flat­ley in­di­cated home de­ten­tion would be an ap­pro­pri­ate sen­tence.

How­ever, Judge Michael Turner said jail was the only op­tion.

‘‘We are numb and in dis­be­lief that this has hap­pened be­cause we weren’t ex­pect­ing it,’’ Mitchell’s mother Linda Mitchell said.

Linda Mitchell spoke with her son by phone at the Otago Cor­rec­tions Fa­cil­ity in Mil­ton on Thurs­day and said he was ‘‘flat’’.

Mitchell was con­cerned for his two-year-old daugh­ter he shared cus­tody of with a for­mer part­ner, and whether an ap­peal had been lodged.

It could be a month be­fore the fam­ily could visit Mitchell, she said.

Grubb’s fa­ther, Jeff Grubb, said he pre­ferred not to com­ment on the sen­tence.

Sen­si­ble Sen­tenc­ing Trust founder Garth McVicar said with­out know­ing the in­tri­ca­cies of the case, there ap­peared to be grounds for ap­peal. The sen­tence ap­peared to be harsh.

‘‘It’s cer­tainly at the up­per end with some of the cases we’ve been in­volved in ... A lot of the cases that are worse than that end with home de­ten­tion.

‘‘There’s a few odd­i­ties there...It re­ally opens it up for an ap­peal,’’ he said.


Wanaka moun­tain­biker Phoebe Young at Sticky For­est.

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