25 Sep 2014

Police tail before fatal justified - IPCA

12:51 pm on 25 September 2014

Greymouth police officer was justified in following a speeding car that crashed, leading to the death of a passenger, the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) has ruled.

Judd Hall, 26, died when the car crashed into a house in Greymouth on 24 January this year.

The driver, Jordan McGrath, and two passengers were in the Subaru Impreza travelling at about 100 km/h in a 50 km/h zone.

The officer saw the car speeding and immediately activated his lights, signalling McGrath to stop. The driver continued, went around a bend in the road and crashed into a house on Greymouth's main streeet.

Mr Hall died and the second passenger, Kori Jeffcoat, was seriously injured in the crash.

IPCA chairman Sir David Carruthers said McGrath's poor decisions led to the tragedy, not the officer following him.

"This was an accident caused by the actions of Mr McGrath, who was driving dangerously and in excess of the blood alcohol limit for a person of his age. Mr McGrath's actions resulted in the tragic loss of life of one of his passengers," he said

Sir David said the officer was never closer than 500 metres from the Subaru which meant he was never engaged in a true pursuit.

Earlier this year McGrath admitted charges of manslaughter, dangerous driving and drunk driving. He is serving a five year prison term with a minimum non-parole period of three years.

Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater's site published an article in January on Mr Hall's death labelling the West Coast man 'feral'. The post caused outrage on the Coast and shortly after it appeared the site was taken down in a cyber-attack.

The crashed vehicle under tarpaulin at the High Street house.

The crashed vehicle under tarpaulin at the High Street house. Photo: SUPPLIED

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