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Judgement reserved in case e-scooter rider accused of causing pedestrian's concussion

A Judge presiding over the trial of a man accused of operating an e-scooter carelessly or inconsiderately causing injury has reserved his decision.

E-scooter (file picture) Source: istock.com

The defendant, Mitchell McIntyre, was on trial before Judge Christopher Field at the Auckland District Court today.

McIntyre collided with Debra Christensen while riding an e-scooter on the footpath of Fanshawe Street in Central Auckland on 25 June, 2019.

She had been getting off a bus at a bus stop when it happened.

Christensen received injuries including facial contusions and lacerations and contusions to her hip, chest-wall, cheek, chin and hand.

She said she was also diagnosed as having a concussion and needed a brain scan.

While giving evidence, Christensen described the moments after the incident, saying she lost consciousness before "waking up" face down on the road.

"It was like a dream, I came round and thought 'oh I'm lying face down on the road' and I sort of tried to get up but I couldn't..."

Christensen then said she thought about going back to sleep, and letting someone else take care of it.

People had crowded around offering help, she said, which was seen on CCTV footage shown to the court.

"Oh there were so many kind people who did help including Mitchell, he helped and stayed, but there were two particularly lovely ladies and another man," Christensen said.

"They were using tissues and things to the blood coming from my head and my mouth."

The court heard how McIntyre had said sorry at the scene, and had stayed with her until the ambulance arrived 20 minutes later.

Christensen had only just begun counselling because she had been very angry, with a short temper and high level of impatience since the incident.

Defence Counsel, Alistair Haskett argued McIntyre had been made into something of a Guinea pig when it came to e-scooters.

He also said government agencies were promoting things like e-scooters as alternatives to cars.

If it wanted to make motor vehicles unattractive, the government needed to offer the proper facilities for alternative methods to be used, Haskett said.

"That has to be part of the context in terms of whether my client was careless or not."

"He's operating within the system that has been provided, very recently prior to this, with no guidance, no extra measures to assist to regulate conduct, and to say that this was not appropriate what happened here."

It was a regrettable accident, but did not require a criminal sanction, Haskett said.

Earlier in the trial he questioned if Christensen had looked both ways before getting off the bus, to which she replied "I was watching my step."

Christensen said bus stops were safe places.

In his submissions, Haskett said McIntyre was a road user, lawfully on a footpath that was part of the road.

He said pedestrians could not simply step out of a shop, alleyway, drive way, bus or parked car into the path of other road users on the footpath.

McIntyre's speed had also never been ascertained, Haskett said.

Police prosecutor Victoria Brooker said Christensen's evidence proved there was justification for a conviction in the case.

She said e-scooters could be used on the footpath but it was up to the user to operate it in a considerate manner that did not put pedestrians and other road users at risk.

Brooker said the fact the bus had come to a stop in front of McIntyre and was next to a bus stop meant he would have known passengers would be disembarking.

"And should have slowed down to avoid any collision. The bus and the complainant were there to be seen."

She said if McIntyre had been riding at an appropriate speed, he would have had sufficient time to stop and avoid the severity of Christensen's injuries.

Brooker said McIntyre also should have given the bus a wider berth.

Judge Field reserved his decision.

rnz.co.nz