Kiri Allan pleads guilty on the day his trial was scheduled to begin

Former Labor justice minister Kiri Allan has pleaded guilty to all charges she faced following a car crash in July last year.

In July she was charged with reckless driving and refusing to accompany a police officer after crashing into a parked car on Evans Bay Parade in Wellington.

Allan also received an infringement notice for driving with excess breath alcohol of between 250 and 400mg.

He resigned from his ministerial portfolios and abandoned politics.

He had previously pleaded guilty to reckless driving, but not guilty to refusing to accompany a police officer.

Today he was due to face trial before a judge at Wellington District Court.

Allan, a trained lawyer, previously told the New Zealand Herald she wanted to test an apparent gray area in the law on the right to consult a lawyer.

She did not appear in court today after changing her plea.

Judge Brooke Gibson convicted her of reckless driving and fined her $300.

She was convicted and released on a charge of refusing to accompany an officer.

Allan has been ordered to pay $5,296 for damage caused to the vehicle.

Summary of facts

The agreed summary of facts said Allan refused to accompany an officer after the accident. He said he first wanted to talk to a lawyer.

The summary said she was warned several times and given ample opportunities to accompany the officer.

He was also informed that a lawyer would be available at a convenient time, either in the police car on the roadside or at the police station. She continued to refuse and was arrested.

When asked by the judge if he accepted that, Allan’s lawyer Christopher Stevenson said “that’s true.”

“And those facts will not be conveyed now. It is a contextual and legal issue that could have arisen. Was it necessary for him to be taken into physical custody to make that call or could he just stay on the side of the road and make the call, but we don’t need to figure that out?

He said Allan “does not particularly press the court” on the appropriate outcome.

Stevenson said a conviction would be “pointless” regarding the charge of refusing to accompany a police officer.

“She’s a young woman and it would be a permanent mark of reputation on her record, and you would think it might not fairly reflect the circumstances of what happened here,” Stevenson said.

“You could say she was unlucky to be accused, under those circumstances, of refusing.”

Stevenson said the Crown’s characterization of low culpability was fair given what he called his client’s “fragile emotional state at the time.”

“This wasn’t a situation where someone was unreasonably refusing to accompany, it was very different than that,” Stevenson said.

judge’s comments

Judge Gibson said Allan had already suffered consequences and a conviction would not compound them.

“He may be embarrassed to have a conviction, but the facts of the matter are widely known.”

“I accept that there have been significant consequences in terms of impact. The accident and the subsequent burdens he has had in his career. He has left parliament.”

He said the accident was “relatively serious” but no one else was injured and he was convinced Allan would pay for the repairs.

Allan had a previous conviction for driving with excess alcohol that was 20 years ago, but due to the lapse of time the judge did not take it into account.