Otago Daily Times

Sen­tenced ‘over ter­ri­ble mis­take’

- ROB KIDD Court re­porter rob.kidd@odt.co.nz Crime · Sexual Abuse · Incidents · Violence and Abuse · Society

A RE­TIRED nurse who ded­i­cated her life to help­ing oth­ers left an el­derly woman in hospi­tal for months after a “ter­ri­ble mis­take”, a court has heard.

Philippa Mar­garet Pilling (68), of Mos­giel, was a “good per­son”, com­mu­nity mag­is­trate Si­mon Heale told the Dunedin Dis­trict Court yes­ter­day.

She had never been to court, and never had so much as a speed­ing ticket, her coun­sel, An­drew More, said.

Her mantra had al­ways been “do no harm”.

On July 9, Pilling was at a red light in Inglis St, wait­ing to turn into Gor­don Rd.

The vic­tim — a 93­year­old woman — got the green light to cross mo­ments be­fore the driver’s sig­nal also changed.

After brief con­fu­sion, a mo­torist op­po­site Pilling ges­tured for her to go.

She told po­lice she “just heard the thump”.

It was a low­speed col­li­sion but the im­pact on the pedes­trian was se­vere.

The court heard she sus­tained two frac­tured bones in her left leg, frac­tures to bones in her pelvis, a rup­tured blad­der, lac­er­a­tions and a brain haem­or­rhage.

Her fam­ily, in a state­ment writ­ten last month, said she had pre­vi­ously been liv­ing in­de­pen­dently in a Mos­giel town­house.

Now she was stuck in a hospi­tal bed “dis­ori­en­tated and con­fused at times . . . in sig­nif­i­cant pain and dis­com­fort’’.

Dis­charge from hospi­tal was a long way off and when it oc­curred, the vic­tim would in­evitably be in an as­sisted­liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment, they said.

De­spite the dra­matic con­se­quences of the col­li­sion, they did not want Pilling to suf­fer fur­ther for her ac­tions, they said.

Mr More stressed Pilling had im­me­di­ately as­sisted the vic­tim after the crash and con­tacted the fam­ily to ex­press her re­morse.

“This is sim­ply an un­for­tu­nate and ter­ri­ble, ter­ri­ble mis­take,” he said.

Pilling vol­un­teered for var­i­ous char­i­ties, in­clud­ing the Mos­giel Food Bank, the court heard.

When she heard her vic­tim had also worked there, she put in more hours in recog­ni­tion of her driv­ing fault, Mr More said.

Mr Heale was con­fi­dent Pilling’s re­morse was gen­uine.

“The ref­er­ences make it clear you’re a good per­son who has ded­i­cated her life to help­ing oth­ers,” he said.

“It’s one of the cru­el­ties of th­ese cir­cum­stances . . . that you should now face the bur­den of re­spon­si­bil­ity of caus­ing such suf­fer­ing.”

Pilling was dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for six months and or­dered to pay the vic­tim $750.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand