Judge rules on Death of Raumati Beach Pedestrian

Peter John Porch appeared for sentencing in the Porirua District Court yesterday after earlier pleading guilty to careless driving causing the death of 91 year old Eric Pickering at Raumati Beach.

Back in March Mr Pickering was on his way to the local bakery in the morning when he was fatally hit by Mr Porch’s car which was travelling at low speed.

Mr Porch, 39, was turning in a wide arc on the road when he hit Mr Pickering who was knocked to the ground and run over by the car that was going less than 10km/h on March 30. He died at the scene.

Mr Porch’s lawyer, Peter Foster, told the court his client was on his way to work in Raumati Beach. He says his client moved into the driveway of the property that he was working at. He saw a car there, went left instead in a big, wide arc. On his left was Mr Pickering.

Judge James Johnston said Mr Pickering’s leg was caught by the front left tyre of the car, knocking him to the ground. He says Mr Porch drove directly over Mr Pickering before coming to a stop. An innocent life lost and a resulting shattered family.

A report from the Serious Crash Unit said Mr Porch would only have been driving between 9.2-9.3km/h when he hit Pickering.

CPR was carried out on Pickering, but he could not be revived and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Foster says Mr Porch pleaded guilty at the very, very earliest opportunity to careless driving causing death.

“These cases are the sort of sentencings where a good person like Mr Porch has a momentary lapse of judgement and a good man dies,” Foster said.

“The effect on everybody is profound.”

Mr Foster says there was a Restorative Justice meeting between Mr Porch and Mr Pickering’s family, and a report of the meeting displayed emotion, sadness, remorse, and forgiveness.

“His remorse just shines through in every aspect of this case, and there’s no doubt about that.”

Judge Johnston said the court was humbled by the compassion and understanding of Pickering’s family.

He found special reasons by the slimmest of margins to not impose the mandatory driving disqualification period of six months.

The reasons included that it was a misty morning, Mr Pickering had been wearing clothing that blended into the nearby gravel, and that the matter occurred at low speed.

Judge Johnston instead sentenced Mr Porch to three months of disqualification from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence, 180 hours of community work, and ordered him to pay $3000 reparation.