Ponsonby Rd death: Young driver convicted after hitting CFO Gregory John Spooner
Gregory John Spooner, 37, died after being hit by a car on Ponsonby Rd on May 31, 2020. Photo/NZME
The tearful father of an Auckland finance director who was fatally hit by a car says the young driver, who ran a red light, showed no remorse.
Robert Spooner and his family have made the difficult decision to remove 38-year-old Gregory John Spooner from life support after sustaining serious head injuries.
He was hit by a car which ran through a red light as it crossed a pedestrian crossing near the intersection of Ponsonby Rd and Hopetoun St on the dark and rainy evening of May 31, 2020.
He died in hospital a week later on June 7.
“You have broken our hearts, you have hurt us deeply,” Robert Spooner said during the sentencing of Jack Fisher this morning at Auckland District Court.
“For the past 20 months, you have made no attempt to show us remorse.
“The only remorse you have is for yourself and no one else.”
But Judge Kirsten Lummis, who was also in tears, said Fisher was “not a bad person” and had “no doubt” his remorse was genuine.
“He’s not a bad person but he did a bad thing,” she said.
Fisher, 24, could be heard crying in the back of the courtroom.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving causing death. He was 22 years old at the time of the incident.
Fisher was sentenced today to 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay $13,000 in damages. Driving is also prohibited for 10 months.
Spooner’s father said he received a call from a surgeon at Auckland Hospital that not all parents wanted to receive – that his son was hit by a car at 7.15pm on May 31 and that he was hospitalized with a serious head injury.
“The next morning we went straight to hospital, we went to intensive care to see our beloved son lying unconscious in bandages and barely alive.
“It was clear it was extremely serious and it was clear they didn’t expect him to live.”
Spooner’s twin, Michael, lives in Melbourne and was unable to return home to say goodbye to his brother or attend the funeral. He attended the court hearing via audio-visual link.
The family are still waiting, more than 20 months later, to scatter Spooner’s ashes when his twin brother can finally return to New Zealand, the court heard.
Spooner is remembered for his many trips abroad, the way he spoke two languages, and his love of art and collecting New Zealand silverware and antiques.
He earned a law and business degree and was called to the bar. He was a chartered accountant and had an “incredible memory”, his father said.
“To society, Gregory is just a statistic, just another number. But to us…he was so much more,” Spooner’s mother Jean wrote in a victim impact statement read in court by a friend. of the family.
“How am I going to recover from losing a son unnecessarily? »
“Gregory was one of the good people in this world.”
His mother said she had appeared in court twice in her life – today and when her son was admitted to the bar.
A minute of silence was observed after the victim impact statements were read in court.
“It is quite evident that Gregory Spooner was an exceptional person and that he had managed to achieve a lot in his life and it is no surprise that we hear … that his friends and family have suffered an indescribable loss”, said Crown Attorney Jacob Barry.
Spooner started working for accountancy and consultancy firm Grant Thornton in Auckland in April after working in financial services for many years in London.
Russell Moore, national managing partner, said Spooner had made a big impact in his short time with the company at the time of his death.
“Even during the short time he worked with us, he made an extremely positive contribution to this role and developed great relationships with his colleagues. Gregory will be greatly missed; our thoughts are with his family and friends.” , Moore said.
Today defense barrister Andrew Speed acknowledged the Spooner family’s ‘deep sense of loss’.
Speed said driving conditions were difficult on the night of May 31 and that the driver’s lack of caution “was tragic”.
“It is his misconduct that brings him here today,” Judge Kirsten Lummis said.
She said her inability to stop at a red light was “nothing short of catastrophic”.
“The pain and sorrow you went through while [Spooner] was in intensive care was horrible,” Judge Lummis told his family in court.
“Covid has been cruel in adding to your grief, and has added to the pain of separated family at this time.”
She said it was “too bad” that Fisher felt he couldn’t pursue restorative justice with the Spooner family because of the legal advice he received.
“I saw Mr. Fisher in court, I have no doubt the remorse is genuine.”
Judge Lummis said no alcohol or speed was involved in the crash.