Far too light a sentence

Newstalk ZB report:

The man responsible for a horror hit and run in central Wellington last year was on a suspended licence and was so drunk he later asked police, “Did I kill someone?”

Jason Tuitama injured two women when he ran a red light in his BMW, striking them as they were on a pedestrian crossing in the early hours of June 18 last year.

Both were taken to hospital, one in a serious condition and one critical.

Casidhe Maguire, known as Cass, died in hospital several weeks later. The other pedestrian suffered serious injuries, requiring several operations.

Court documents show Tuitama had already been banned from driving multiple times in the months before the fatal incident and wasn’t supposed to be driving.

While the impact threw both women in the air, Tuitama refused to stop, driving off while his victims lay critically injured on Cable Street.

Today before a packed public gallery in the Wellington District Court, Tuitama was jailed for four years and four months after earlier admitting charges of manslaughter, reckless driving causing injury, failing to stop and drink driving.

So 52 months in jail (and presumably parole eligibility after 35 months) for the following:

  • On a suspended licence
  • Been banned from driving multiple times
  • Speeds of up to 150km/h.
  • Speed of 115km/ph in a 70 km/hr zone.
  • Ignored his partner begging him to slow down and stop
  • Drove through two sets of red lights.
  • At traffic lights at an intersection narrowly missed a car coming through a green light.
  • Didn’t brake as he ploughed through intersection at 85km/h, before hitting the women, who were crossing on a green light.
  • Didn’t stop at the scene
  • tried to flee Police
  • Had blood alcohol nearly four times the legal limit
  • Not wearing contact lenses that were required as part of his licence.
  • Told police he was too drunk and couldn’t see properly
  • Killed and seriously injured two victims

This was so far beyond reckless that a death was almost inevitable. I would have thought a sentence closer to ten years would be appropriate.

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