Auckland businessman Simon Greenwood has been found not guilty of careless driving causing the death of his former partner, Nicola (Nikki) Gapes, after a romantic long weekend in Northland took a fateful turn.
Judge Michael Crosbie’s reserved decision following Greenwood’s June trial has been released to media today.
Mother-of-three Gapes, 43, died in a crash on the Kaipara Coast Highway in January 2018.The couple were returning home from spending Auckland Anniversary weekend in Russell on Greenwood’s Kawasaki ZX motorbike.
Witnesses said the pair were weaving in and out of holiday traffic before Greenwood, Gapes in pillion, attempted to overtake a line of southbound traffic in the northbound lane.
A car was turning right into Mangakura Boat Club and the two vehicles collided. Gapes died at the scene. Another motorcyclist Jeremy Winks and Greenwood were seriously injured.
Greenwood was charged months later with careless driving causing death and entered a not guilty plea on July 26 that year.
At his Auckland District Court judge-alone trial in June, Greenwood said he was a careful, experienced motorcyclist who had ridden the state highway at least eight to 10 times.
He said all the car driver had to do was look properly.
Greenwood was travelling 90 to 100km/h when overtaking and he didn’t notice the cars in front of him start to brake, or the turning car indicate, he said.
“He may have indicated as I was overtaking,” Greenwood told the trial. “An indicator is not a force field, it doesn’t mean you can turn it on and pull out into oncoming traffic.”
Greenwood, aged 52 at the time, was knocked unconscious and suffered broken ribs and internal injuries.
First responders found him sitting on the ground, in shock, asking where Gapes was.
He was hospitalised for three days.
The court heard how weather and visibility was fine the day of the collision, and the road was dry. There was no alcohol or drugs detected in Greenwood.
– More to come
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