The wife of an Auckland ophthalmologist who died in suspicious circumstances at their Remuera home in April last year has pleaded not guilty to careless driving charges.
Philip Polkinghorne, 68, is said to have crashed his red Amarok into a car outside Parnell Rose Garden in December. He will face charges in Auckland District Court for the first time today. However, defense attorney Tony Bouchier apologized for his client’s appearance and entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.
Polkinghorne worked as an eye doctor in Auckland before retiring after his wife Pauline Hanna died on Easter Monday. Inspector Aaron Pascoe said in a statement to the Herald today. Hanna, 63, is a senior health director at the Manukau County Health Department, responsible for the Covid-19 response at procurement firm Healthsource. Police spent 11 days searching the couple’s property on Upland Rd following their deaths.
Polkinghorne previously told the Herald that police were treating him as a “suspect” in the investigation.
In May, the Herald revealed that police had found traces of methamphetamine during a search of the home, prompting Auckland Eye to hire an independent clinical expert to assist in the review.
A draft report on the review, submitted to the Herald on Sunday, did not find any “clinical issues or cases that may warrant further action”. Polkinghorn resigned from the board a month after his wife’s death and has been retiring ever since. He moved out of the $4 million family home and into his sister. The property has been listed for sale but is temporarily off the market.
Polkinghorne previously told the Herald his wife was overworked and highly regarded by her peers.
“People ask me what her role is, and I don’t really know, but she can solve any problem,” Polkinghorne said.