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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Pedestrian killed by fleeing driver in New Brighton

8 October 2020

The Independent Police Conduct Authority investigated an incident in New Brighton where a pedestrian, Mr Dean Amies, was killed by a driver evading a Police patrol. The driver did not stop and was pursued by another patrol vehicle before the pursuit was abandoned. The investigation explored the actions of Police immediately before Mr Amies was killed and whether those actions contributed to his death. The Authority also considered the appropriateness of the subsequent pursuit.

The incident took place on the afternoon of 7 August 2019 when two people ran away from a Subaru vehicle that had been pursued into New Brighton by a Police patrol. One of the occupants, Liam Strickland, then stole a van from a nearby property and reversed down the driveway onto Shaw Avenue.

After ramming a Police patrol car and colliding with another car, Strickland drove the van through a roundabout intersecting with Hawke Street, followed by the Police patrol. As the van exited the roundabout, it hit and killed Mr Amies who was standing near the centre of the road. The officers pursuing Strickland stopped to assist Mr Amies.

The Authority found the officers in the rammed patrol car did not know the van had been stolen, and it was appropriate that they began to follow the van as it travelled along Shaw Avenue towards the roundabout.

  • The Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty, said the officers in the patrol car were faced with a very fast-moving situation. "They initially arrived in the area to assist with apprehending the occupants of the Subaru which was entirely in keeping with their duties. The ramming of their patrol car was unexpected, and it was appropriate they followed the van as it sped off toward the roundabout".
  • Judge Doherty said Strickland was intent on getting away regardless of police beginning to follow him. "The officers could not have anticipated the tragedy that what was about to unfold and what did unfold cannot be attributed to them in any way".

Regarding the short pursuit that followed, the Authority found that those officers, too, did not know the van had just been stolen, or that it had hit and killed Mr Amies. The Authority noted the short duration of the pursuit and that is was properly abandoned due to Strickland's manner of driving.

Public Report
Pedestrian killed by fleeing driver in New Brighton
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