1 Mar 2024

Man pleads guilty to manslaughter, other charges, after hit and run near Te Papa

1:13 pm on 1 March 2024
Jason Tuitama has pleaded guilty to manslaughter of Casidhe Maguire after a hit and run in June last year

Jason Tuitama appears in court. Photo: RNZ / Ashleigh McCaull

A man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and three other charges in a hit and run that threw its victims 40 metres.

Jason Tuitama, who is 24, was charged with hitting two pedestrians on Cable Street, nearTe Papa in Wellington, before driving away just after midnight on the June 18 last year.

He appeared in the dock in Wellington's High Court today holding a bible and a small cross.

Tuitama also pleaded guilty to reckless driving causing injury, failing to stop after a crash and driving while exceeding more than 400 milligrams of alcohol.

Justice Dale La Hood acknowledged both the victims families, the surviving victim and Tuitama's whanau.

Police were called to the hit and run at 1:15am, where one person was seriously hurt and another critical.

Earlier that night, Tuitama had been drinking at a rugby club to celebrate a milestone game for him.

He and his partner, who was sober, decided to drive to Courtenay Place, but he refused to pull over and let her drive when she became concerned.

At around midnight he was speeding on Cable Street and drove pst a red light at the intersection with Taranaki Street and hit two women.

Both victims were thrown 40 metres away from the crossing.

Police later found the car that fled the scene at Evans Bay parade where they arrested Tuitama and his 26 year old partner.

Tuitama recorded a breath test of 993 micrograms, almost four times the legal limit.

Casidhe Maguire died in Wellington Regional Hospital in July last year after being taken to the Intensive Care Unit.

In a statement from the Ministry of Health, it described her as a "really special person" and a valued team member who had many good friends.

In the 28 year old's obituary, her whanau gave their thanks to the staff in Wellington's ICU.

Tuitama was granted bail ahead of his sentencing on the May10 .