Hares take the blame

South Waikato News - - Out & About - MIKE MATHER

When three hares dashed out on the road in front of Rash­pin­der Mundi, he sud­denly yanked the hand­brake of the car he was driv­ing, send­ing it hurtling out of con­trol, through a fence and into a pad­dock.

A con­tribut­ing fac­tor to this spur-of-the mo­ment de­ci­sion was that he had been drink­ing heav­ily the night be­fore, and had fol­lowed this with two more beers be­fore get­ting be­hind the wheel.

When later tested, he re­turned a read­ing of 112 mil­ligrams of al­co­hol per 100 millil­itres of blood – well above the le­gal limit of 50mg.

One of the pas­sen­gers in the car was in­jured in the crash, sub­se­quently had to un­dergo surgery, and spent the next two weeks in hospi­tal.

Mundi, 24, ap­peared for sen­tenc­ing be­fore Judge Glen Mar­shall in the Hamil­ton District Court re­cently, on one charge of caus­ing in­jury by driv­ing with ex­cess blood al­co­hol, laid in re­la­tion to the crash in Pu­taruru in Au­gust last year.

Mundi’s coun­sel Rhi­anna Lay­bourn said her client, who is an In­dian na­tional em­ployed on a South Waikato dairy farm on a work­ing visa, was an in­ex­pe­ri­enced driver not used to travers­ing New Zealand’s ru­ral roads.

He had been given the Satur­day off work and had con­sumed an es­ti­mated 10 to 12 beers on the pre­ced­ing Fri­day night. He had fol­lowed this up with two more beers on the Satur­day, be­fore head­ing out to get take­aways with two friends in the mis­taken be­lief he was okay to drive.

At 11.30am Mundi was driv­ing on Ara­puni Rd near Pu­taruru when he spot­ted three large hares on the side of the road ahead, Lay­bourn said.

He slowed down, but they darted out onto the road. Mundi veered to the left and at­tempted to slow fur­ther down in a bid to avoid driv­ing over the drove of hares. With the foot­brake ap­pear­ing in­ef­fec­tive he pulled on the hand­brake, send­ing the car off the road.

The in­jured pas­sen­ger suf­fered lac­er­a­tions to his liver and kid­neys which re­quired an op­er­a­tion to fix.

Mar­shall sen­tenced Mundi to 125 hours’ com­mu­nity work, dis­qual­i­fied him from driv­ing for one year and one day. He also or­dered him to pay $109.25 in an­a­lysts fees as well as $1000 in repa­ra­tion to the in­jured man and $245 to the farmer with the dam­aged fence.

A run-in with a hare landed one South Waikato farmer in the Hamil­ton District Court.

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