A truck driver has escaped a jail term for the death of a high-ranking police officer.
Superintendent Steve Fitzgerald died while cycling home in the Hutt suburb of Petone in June 2008.
Container truck driver Desmond Wilson was found guilty in September of careless driving causing Mr Fitzgerald’s death.
In the Wellington District Court on Friday, Wilson was disqualified from driving for nine months and ordered to pay $2000 reparation.
Judge Broadmore said he found the sentencing, which he described as emotional reparation, difficult.
“All of us who drive are open to momentary lapses of attention. We all make mistakes, but mercifully it’s in only a tiny fraction of cases that those mistakes which we all make give rise to calamities such as this.”
The court heard that Wilson has recently been diagnosed with depression, has resigned his employment, is on a sickness benefit and has moved to be with his family in Nelson.
His lawyer, Bill Calver, said Wilson was consumed by the trauma and tragedy of the incident and constantly relived the feeling of his trailer wheels bumping over Mr Fitzgerald.
Wilson would not comment on the sentence.
Outside court, Detective Sergeant Steve Harwood of Lower Hutt police said the loss of Steve Fitzgerald had been a tragedy since the “moment of carelessness” happened until today.
He says Mr Fitzgerald was a much loved father and husband whose family still grieve for him, and who also happened to be a police officer.
He would not comment on the sentence but says he hopes Mr Fitzgerald’s death reinforces the need for road users to take care at all time.