7 Sep 2016

Tourist driver to pay $30,000 over fatal crash

6:16 pm on 7 September 2016

A tourist driver who killed a Dunedin motorcyclist has been sentenced to community work and reparations.

Riley Baker and partner Amy McCarthy

Riley Baker, left, with his partner Amy McCarthy Photo: Supplied

Riley Baker, 26, died in hospital after a car driven by Limin Ma collided with him on State Highway 1 near Hampden in North Otago three weeks ago.

Ma, who was visiting New Zealand from Shanghai, was sentenced this afternoon in the Dunedin District Court after earlier pleading guilty to careless driving causing death.

He was ordered to serve 150 hours of community work and pay $30,000 in reparations, and was disqualified from driving for two years.

The court heard three victim impact statements from Mr Baker's sister, mother and partner, who talked of the emotional and physical distress that his death had caused.

Limin Ma, left, with an interpreter at his sentencing for careless driving causing death in the Dunedin District Court on 7 September 2016.

Limin Ma, left, with an interpreter in the Dunedin District Court Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

Mr Baker's partner, Amy McCarthy, said Mr Baker's death had been devastating for her.

"I break down crying every time there's a car accident in a movie, every time I hear a motorbike my heart sinks, and when I hear a siren I hope no-one is about to go through what I had to go through," she said.

"The structure in my life has collapsed."

Ms McCarthy said her partner had a white motorbike with a very bright headlamp and if Ma did not see him, he was doing something wrong.

In her statement, Sarah Baker said the driver in his big car had hit her brother when he was riding a small bike.

Her brother was always sensible and careful on the road, travelling with the best protective gear and always with his lights on, she said.

"Mr Ma drove across the centre line and killed my innocent brother, while Mr Ma barely suffered a scratch," Ms Baker told the court.

"I can never understand why it's always the innocent ones who suffer, it's not fair," she said.

Ms Baker criticised the sentence as light and an insult to the family, and said it would not help prevent crashes involving tourist drivers.

Ma's lawyer, Anne Stevens, said after the sentencing he was satisfied with the outcome because it was a fair sentence for a moment of carelessness that had devastating consequences.

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