5 Jul 2016

Fatal drink-drive leads to four years prison

1:21 pm on 5 July 2016

A drink-driver who reached speeds of up to 160km/h on Auckland's Southern motorway has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland Photo: justice.govt.nz

Hingano Kala'uta appeared at the High Court in Auckland today after previously pleading guilty to four charges of drink-driving causing injury and one of manslaughter.

Justice Peters took into account his early guilty pleas, his remorse and $20,000 paid in reparation to the victims.

According to court documents, Kala'uta threatened the designated driver before taking control of the car and driving onto the motorway early on New Year's Day last year.

The car was seen weaving in and out of traffic and reaching speeds of up to 160km/h as the passengers pleaded with Kala'uta to pull over, the court was told.

When the car reached the East Tamaki off-ramp it struck the left-hand barrier before colliding with the median barrier.

Four passengers including Kala'uta's wife were injured. Two were thrown from the car and one, Lavi Taimani, died at the scene.

In a victim impact statement, her sister Fipe said Lavi had hoped to graduate and help her parents into their first home.

"I will never understand what happened the morning my sister died. And I don't ever want to understand," she said.