1493600071495 - 81-year-old unfit to plead to careless driving causing death charge

81-year-old unfit to plead to careless driving causing death charge

A Taranaki man charged with causing the death of a 70-year-old has been found unfit to enter a plea to the offence.

Last year, the 81-year-old was charged with careless driving causing the death of Oakura man Robin Coutanche. He currently has interim name suppression.

Two mental health reports have been completed on the accused, both of which found him unfit to plead to the charge.

The second report was called for after Judge Chris Sygrove ruled that pursuant to section 9 of the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act he was satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that there was sufficient evidence against the defendant to establish he caused the crash which killed Coutanche.

READ MORE:
* 81-year-old charged in connection with fatal Taranaki tractor crash
* Man who died in Oakura tractor crash named
* Stretch of road which claimed a man’s life a ‘disaster waiting to happen’ 
* Man, 22, will sell Porsche after dangerous driving conviction, court told
* Aging driving population presents ‘dilemma’ for families, say police

Coutanche died after the tractor he was driving was hit by another car and rolled just south of Oakura, on State Highway 45, about 4.20pm on November 1. 

The crash left the 70-year-old with critical injuries and despite receiving urgent medical assistance including CPR, he died at the scene. 

From Jersey, Robin and his wife Ann had lived in Taranaki for six years after falling in love with the region during visits to see their son.

During a hearing in the New Plymouth District Court on Monday, Sygrove ordered a psychiatric report be completed on the defendant prior to his next appearance in court on June 7.

The report will provide recommendations to the court about final disposition of the case and will also consider the issue of ongoing name suppression.​

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