LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – A man accused of murdering two people in a hit-and-run says he was trying to save his friend, the Auckland High Court has been told.
Darin Gardner, 25, is accused of driving his car into a group of people who were watching a brawl between his friend and several other men in Pakuranga in August last year.
The fight is said to have happened when Mr Gardiner’s friend savagely beat a man, and was later set upon by a group of men.
The Crown argues that Mr Gardner intended to cause the carnage he did. It alleges that he left a number of people injured and dying in his wake, including Kane Wright, who suffered fatal brain injuries.
The Crown also alleges that Mr Gardner drove back a second time, killing Melissa Viall, who was kneeling down to help an injured person.
Mr Gardiner’s lawyer told the court on Monday his client’s misguided actions were an effort to save his friend from being beaten to death.
The defence says Mr Gardiner is not a murderer and if he is guilty of anything, it is manslaughter.
Fifty-eight witnesses are due to be called during the three-week trial.