- Location: Hamilton, New Zealand
- Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
The article on Stuff today has been updated with more details.
German motorcyclist records own death on helmet cam
A motorcyclist who tore around a blind corner on a gravel road and then smashed into and killed another rider has been sentenced to 10 months of home detention.
Michael Bruce Hayes, 38, of Raglan, appeared in Hamilton District Court on Tuesday, on a single charge of dangerous driving causing death.
The death was of Daniel Aretz, 37, a German national employed by BM Workshop, an Auckland-based independent BMW repairer.
The incident happened on a corner on Makomako Rd, between Kawhia and Raglan, on October 10, 2015. The route, frequently used by bike riders, is an unsealed public road and the common road rules apply there.
As sentencing judge Kim Saunders noted, “There was always a risk of oncoming traffic”.
The court heard that Hayes had been with a group of riders when, at speed, he raced around a blind corner and straight into Aretz, who was coming in the opposite direction.
Hayes knew the road well and had ridden on it many times. The day was overcast and the road was dry.
Aretz had a GoPro camera fitted to his helmet, and the entire incident was captured on high definition video footage.
That footage assisted the judge greatly in assessing Hayes’ level of culpability.
“Your speed was excessive for the conditions … [However] this case is devoid of the many aggravating factors in cases such as this,” Saunders said.
Hayes had never appeared in court before for driving or any other kind of offence.
“It was a one-off situation when you showed poor judgement with tragic consequences.”
Aretz’s parents, who live in Germany, had supplied the court with a victim impact statement in which they spoke of their “deep wound, physically and mentally, which will never heal”.
“They say it is difficult to find inner peace,” Saunders told Hayes. “However they acknowledge that despite their pain and tears, they cannot begin to imagine the nightmare you have been through.
“There are no winners or losers. It’s something you will have to live with for the rest of your life.”
She noted that Hayes had also made a video apology to Aretz’s parents, which will be sent to them following his sentencing.
A pre-sentence report found Hayes was low risk of re-offending and his remorse was genuine.
Prior to sentencing, his counsel Mark Sturm told the court it was a “sad and sorry day” for Hayes.
“The defendant was over-confident, he did not expect the unexpected and the victim has paid for that with his life.”
Although the charge Hayes faced came with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, Sturm pleaded for a lenient sentence so his client could continue to contribute to society and look after his family.
In sentencing Hayes to 10 months home detention, Judge Saunders also disqualified him from driving for two years and six months.