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Christchurch hit-and-run teen 'narrowly' avoids jail

Friday 7 Dec 2012 3:46 p.m.

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A Christchurch teenager has narrowly avoided jail despite killing one person and injuring another in a hit-and-run incident.

Harry Silcock, 18, hit and killed 20-year-old Sean Hutt and injured 17-year-old Kyle Thompson, in an accident in the suburb of Hornby, in September this year.

He was today sentenced to 10 months home detention but told by the judge he avoided imprisonment by a “very narrow margin”.

Judge Jane Farish said Silcock would have to live with the tragic consequences of a few moments of inattention for the rest of his life.

“I don’t imagine that you would ever be in court as a defendant again,” she said.

Overtaking a slow vehicle late at night, Silcock failed to see a group of 70 people on the side of rural Shands Road near Christchurch. 

He hit Mr Hutt, killing him instantly, and Mr Thompson who suffered a broken ankle.

Silcock then panicked and left the scene but handed himself into police the next day.

Judge Farish told the court it was “a catastrophe for everyone involved”, and that Silcock had done irreparable damage to the Hutt family.

“It is something they don’t think they can come to terms with,” she said.

‘I miss him all the time’

A letter by Mr Hutt’s twin brother, Callum, was read out in court, where he remembered his brother as a “kind person”.

“I would like Harry Silcock to know that by taking Sean from us, he has taken half of who I am,” the letter read.
“I miss him all the time. Part of me is missing.”

Lawyer James Rapley described Silcock as a “young person with a bright future”, appealing for the judge to look at his character when deciding the sentence.

“He is very aware of what has happened and how it has happened,” he told the court.

“He has had difficulty handling the enormity of what has happened and the consequences of taking a man’s life.”

Mr Rapley says Silcock “panicked and was scared” immediately after the crash but accepted responsibility and handed himself in the following day.

He says Silcock had been employed since his early teens and had saved $35,000 for a house deposit by the age of 18. He was also covering his own legal costs for the trial.

Judge Farish said his sentence was not about retribution but rather holding Silcock accountable for his actions.

She said while a prison sentence could be applied, imprisonment would not “replace Mr Hutt”.

Silcock was also sentenced to 250 hours of community service, disqualified from driving for two-and-a-half years and ordered to pay $15,000 in reparations.

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