Report into the death of Debbie Ashton Released
9 July 2008 Media Statement
Minister releases report into the death of Debbie Ashton
State Services Minister David Parker today released a report by Kristy P McDonald QC, into the death of Nelson woman Debbie Ashton in December 2006.
“The report explains how the offender used a name provided to him under the Police Witness Protection Programme to be treated as a first offender when he appeared in court.
“His earlier record of serious offending was not disclosed to the court at that time. It is most likely that he would have been imprisoned, but instead remained out of prison, and reoffended by driving dangerously, killing the innocent Debbie Ashton in a car crash.
“Kristy McDonald QC’s report examines how individual errors and systems failures led to this occurring,” David Parker said.
“Her family along with the public deserve to know why these mistakes were made, and to be assured that systems have been changed to prevent them happening again.
“The report I am releasing today includes all information required to consider the actions of Police and Corrections in their dealings with the offender.”
Police and Corrections would comment further on the details of the events leading to the death and the recommendations made by Kristy McDonald QC, Mr Parker said.
“The report is able to be released following a court hearing yesterday regarding suppression orders. The outcome of that hearing was embargoed by Justice Simon France to 9.30am today.
“I hope public release of this report this will go some way to help the family of Debbie Ashton, who have suffered not only the death of their loved one, but also the pain of knowing that events could have been otherwise if it had been handled better.”