Life­long friend killed in ATV ac­ci­dent


Oamaru man Fraser Robert Cameron strug­gled to con­trol his emo­tions as he was banned from driv­ing for six months for an all ter­rain ve­hi­cle (ATV) crash that killed his life­long friend.

Ryan Stu­art died when the ATV driven by Cameron slid down a slope, over­turned and landed on him, while the two were out duck hunt­ing near Wai­mate on May 6, 2017.

Cameron, 32, a builder, dressed in a white shirt and black tie, fought to keep his emo­tions un­der con­trol as he was sen­tenced in the Ti­maru District Court on Thurs­day for care­less driv­ing caus­ing death, in front of a pub­lic gallery packed with Stu­art’s fam­ily.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice sum­mary of facts, Cameron was driv­ing his friend in an ATV along a farm track when he over­shot a moder­ate left-hand bend.

Judge Joanna Maze said the ve­hi­cle started to slide down the slope and Cameron over­cor­rected, re­sult­ing in both men be­ing thrown from the ve­hi­cle.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately the ve­hi­cle landed on your friend, he was crushed and died of his in­juries,’’ Judge Maze said.

De­fence lawyer Michael de Buyzer said Cameron and Stu­art met 16 years ago when they boarded to­gether at school.

They flat­ted to­gether in Dunedin for three years, and had been life­long friends.

‘‘The death of the de­fen­dant’s friend is a tragedy for the fam­ily of the de­ceased,’’ de Buyzer said.

He said Cameron’s re­morse about what hap­pened was real and heart­felt, as shown by the fact he needed to write down what he was go­ing to say at the restora­tive jus­tice con­fer­ence with Stu­art’s fam­ily for fear he would other­wise have bro­ken down in tears.

Cameron’s re­morse and re­gret had been fully ac­cepted by Stu­art’s fam­ily, de Buyzer said.

When the crash hap­pened, Cameron ran a con­sid­er­able dis­tance to call for emer­gency ser­vices.

De Buyzer said given the re­mote lo­ca­tion of the crash, it took St John some time to get there.

Equip­ment needed to be taken across a river, which meant there was a de­lay in Stu­art get­ting treat­ment.

‘‘Th­ese mem­o­ries are etched in­deli­bly on Cameron’s mind and will haunt him for many years to come.

‘‘He made the call to the de­ceased’s fa­ther to re­lay the news of the crash and played a full role in the fu­neral.

‘‘That iden­ti­fies the sig­nif­i­cant and gen­uine re­morse felt by this young man,’’ de Buyzer said.

Judge Maze said Cameron’s pre-sen­tence re­port rec­om­mended a sen­tence of com­mu­nity work. Stu­art’s fam­ily did not want Cameron to pay repa­ra­tions to them.

‘‘You are clearly deeply re­morse­ful and you con­tinue to grieve for the loss of a very close friend,’’ the judge told Cameron.

She said it was not nec­es­sary to sen­tence Cameron to com­mu­nity work.

Fraser Cameron (left) out­side the Ti­maru District Court af­ter his sen­tenc­ing on a charge of care­less driv­ing caus­ing death.

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