Thursday, February 22, 2024

Not guilty plea over unborn baby’s death following street racing incident

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A man has appeared in the Auckland High Court on charges relating to an incident of illegal street racing in East Tamaki earlier this year. File photo supplied

A man charged with manslaughter in relation to the death of an unborn baby following a street racing incident in east Auckland has pleaded not guilty.

The man, who has name suppression, appeared before Justice Mathew Downs in the Auckland High Court today, December 13.

He was initially charged by police on November 30.

Detective senior sergeant Dean Batey, of Counties Manukau East Police’s criminal investigation branch, earlier said the man was charged following an investigation into an incident involving illegal street racing.

It happened just after 11pm on May 19 at the intersection of Bruce Roderick and Offenhauser Drives in East Tamaki, Batey said.

“Around this time a vehicle that was allegedly involved in the illegal street racing struck a spectator, who was pregnant.

“The woman was taken to hospital in a serious condition and emergency surgical procedures were required to be carried out.

“Tragically, the baby girl did not even survive the day and succumbed to her catastrophic injuries.”

Batey said an investigation has been ongoing into the circumstances of what took place that night.

“The 22-year-old driver is already before the Manukau District Court on numerous driving offences.

“Police have now laid an additional charge of manslaughter against this man.

“While this case remains before the court, I would like to reiterate that illegal street racing causes great concern to police and our community, and for good reason.

“Time and time again, police have issued warnings to those taking part in this illegal activity about the risks they’re posing to themselves and others.

“This also extends to the spectators who are enabling this behaviour.

“Let this tragedy that occurred on May 19 be a reminder the risks have very real consequences.”

The man’s defence lawyer entered not guilty pleas to manslaughter and driving-related charges on his behalf when he appeared in the Auckland High Court on December 13.

A three-week trial has been scheduled to start in February 2025.

Police have set up an online portal for witnesses to the street racing incident in East Tamaki to upload photos or video from the time at https://safety-yellow.nc3.govt.nz/.

Information can also be provided through the 105 phone service, or by going online to https://www.police.govt.nz/use-105 and using ‘Update My Report’, referencing file number 230520/3570.

Alternatively, phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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