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AG speaks at Pitt’s defence

Auditor General Heather Matthews called for leniency in the sentencing of a co-worker convicted of running over twin brothers.

Appearing in Supreme Court yesterday, Ms Matthews called Tracey Pitt a conscientious and meticulous person and a “backbone of knowledge” at the Auditor General's office, where she worked as assistant Auditor General.

Pitt, 51, was suspended from that post when she was charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Rudolph and Randolph Smith, both 36, by impaired driving.

Asked if the conviction would cost Pitt her job, Ms Matthews replied: “It's a definite possibility.”

Last week a jury acquitted her of those offences, but found her guilty of the lesser counts of causing grievous bodily harm by reckless driving and refusing to give a breath sample.

It was revealed yesterday during her sentencing hearing that Pitt has launched an appeal against the convictions.

The charges all relate to a collision which took place around 2.20am on January 29, 2012 in the southbound lane of Woodlands Road near the junction with Canal Road. Forensic experts had told the court the victims were sitting or laying in the southbound lane when they were struck by Pitt's car and dragged more than 40ft.

Pitt admitted having two glasses of wine prior to the crash but denied being impaired, saying during the trial she couldn't see the victims in part because of glare from the headlights of a passing vehicle.

Prosecutor Takiyah Burgess called for a sentence of between one and two years in prison, noting the extensive injuries caused by the collision, and the distance that the victims were dragged under the car.

“It shows that she wasn't paying attention,” Ms Burgess said. “If she had been paying attention then she would have stopped earlier and dragged them less.”

She also noted that Pitt only apologised to the victims during the trial, which she argued showed a lack of remorse.

However several character witnesses, including Ms Matthews, took the stand, describing Pitt as attentive, professional and remorseful of her actions.

Bermuda Public Service Union Secretary Ed Ball said he has known Pitt for 28 years, said he spoke to Pitt after he learned of the accident to see how she was holding up.

“She was very distraught and just emotionally drained by the whole affair,” he said. “At all times she was very concerned about the plight of the two men, how they were doing and their general state. She said if she could only turn back the clock of time this would have never occurred.”

Lawyer Larry Mussenden meanwhile told the court he met Pitt through the Bermuda Football Association, where she acted as an auditor pro-bono to help the organisation. He described her as an intelligent, keen and compassionate person who, if sentenced to community service, could provide great service to the Island's charities.

Defense lawyer Elizabeth Christopher said the collision was a “perfect storm” of circumstances, and that the victims were partially culpable for the collision.

She argued that there was no indication as to what the jury found to be the “reckless” element of the offence was other than that they found Pitt not guilty of impaired driving, and so it may have been a momentary lapse. Under the circumstances, she argued the appropriate sentence would be a conditional discharge.

Acting Justice Juan Wolffe remanded Pitt into custody until tomorrow, when the sentencing is scheduled to continue.

Auditor General Heather Jacobs Matthews was a character witness in the Tracey Pitt sentence yesterday .(Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published September 18, 2013 at 1:23 am (Updated September 18, 2013 at 6:11 pm)

AG speaks at Pitt’s defence

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