3 Mar 2009

Killer driver appeals conviction

5:33 pm on 3 March 2009

The Court of Appeal has retired to consider whether a man who drove into a crowd killing two people should have his conviction and sentence overturned.

Darin Gardner was found guilty of murdering 19-year-old Kane Wright and Melissa Viall, aged 23, in east Auckland in 2006.

Gardner has always maintained he did not intend to kill anyone and was just trying to break up a fight.

He is appealing against his conviction and sentence of 18-and-a-half years.

Gardner's lawyers have argued that the trial judge misdirected the jury by implying it was up to the defence to prove innocence, rather than the onus being on the Crown to establish guilt.

They also argued the victims' families yelled abuse at Gardner during the jury selection process - thus influencing the verdict from the beginning.