sigh... Drunk bikie awarded $950,000 By Michael Pelly Legal Reporter June 8, 2005 Peter MacKenzie admits getting drunk, and letting his drunk mate ride his unregistered Harley-Davidson. However, a court ruled yesterday that he was entitled to compensation of almost $1 million - because he didn't know what he was doing. The Gilgandra man was left a quadriplegic when the motorcycle ran off the Newell Highway with him as a pillion passenger in December 2000. He sued the Nominal Defendant - a division of the Motor Accidents Authority which handles claims when a vehicle is unregistered - and they agreed his claim was worth $4.75 million. However, the trial judge took the rare step of finding Mr Mackenzie 100 per cent responsible for the accident - a decision the Court of Appeal said yesterday was unfair. Justice Roger Giles said Mr Mackenzie had had no intention of driving or riding when he started drinking and that an 80 per cent reduction was more "equitable" . "Deliberate drinking to the point of severe intoxication exposed him to acting impulsively and without full consideration of what might occur …The departure from the standard of care of the reasonable man at this point cannot be ignored in putting Mr Brown in the driver's seat," Justice Giles said. He sent the case back to the District Court, where Mr Mackenzie will be entitled to a $950,000 payout on his recommendation. However, Matthew Seisen of the authority's legal firm, Dibbs Barker Gosling, said his client was expected to launch a defence of "circuity of action". This could return any money awarded on the basis that Mr Mackenzie had let Aaron Brown drive his Harley. Mr Mackenzie, then 34, had known Mr Brown, 27, had no licence and had rejected his earlier pleas during their drinking session that they should "get the hog". Mr MacKenzie's blood alcohol level at the time of the accident was estimated at 0.25 per cent and Mr Brown's at 0.19. Judge Harvey Cooper decided Mr Mackenzie had still known what he was doing, was "the driving force behind the journey" and that it was a worst-case situation of contributory negligence. But Justice Giles said Judge Cooper was wrong "to have regarded [Mr Mackenzie] as having engaged in a deliberate act of negligence".