A Western Bay woman who pulled out into the path of a Tauranga father riding his motorcycle will be paying $7500 in emotional harm reparation.
Claire Beverly Beard, 44, who last month pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving causing death, was sentenced in Tauranga District Court yesterday by Judge Denise Clark.
Hayden Hohepa Wilson, 29, was killed on the evening of September 17 last year as he rode his bright yellow Triumph along Snodgrass Rd before striking the right rear of Beard's Holden station wagon.
Mr Wilson died before the ambulance arrived.
The court was told that the collision occurred as Beard, who had three children aged between 6 and 11 in the car, was leaving a friend's address. Mr Wilson was heading home after buying fish and chips.
Beard stopped at the bottom of the driveway, looked both ways and pulled out after failing to see Mr Wilson approaching from the right.
Beard's 11 year-old son seated behind her received serious pelvic injuries.
Beard told police the first she knew of the crash was when there was "a sudden explosion" at the rear of her car.
Her lawyer Tony Balme told Judge Clark that Mr Wilson's death was a real tragedy and the process had resulted in significant trauma for both families.
Mr Balme said after taking legal advice and because her son would have been a witness, Beard pleaded guilty and wanted to apologise, pay a fine and offer $5000 for emotional harm.
"As far as the restorative justice meeting Mrs Beard and her husband felt it was a productive process for them and also for the deceased's family who said they had accepted her apologies."
Mr Balme said he submitted special reasons why the judge should not disqualify Beard from driving.
"The real issue is whether Mr Wilson was riding without his lights on prior to the crash and whether he may have turned them on just before the crash, and in my submission that is the most likely situation and would account for why Mrs Beard did not see him," Mr Balme said.
Beard, a mother of three, had led a blameless life and had an excellent driving record, he said.
Judge Clark said having read the crash investigator's report she was entirely satisfied Mr Wilson had been driving with his lights on.
"In this case I am satisfied that the level was at the lower end of the scale. However the consequences were clearly tragic and have resulted in significant loss for the victims."
Judge Clark said she had taken into account that it was Beard's first time before the court and that she had accepted responsibility by making her guilty plea soon after the charges were laid in court.
She was disqualified from driving for six months.
Outside court Beard told Bay of Plenty Times Weekend that she would not make any comment "out of respect for Hayden".
An application by the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend to photograph Beard was declined by Judge Clark.
aption1: FAMILY GRIEF: The Wirihana family of Te Puna lost their father, Hayden Hopepa Wilson, in a motorcycle accident last year. Pictured is Mr Wilson's partner Moana Hakavalu and their children Dante, 8, Kaydo, 6, Maia, 3, and Tia, 1.
'Our lives have been totally ruined'
For Hayden Wilson's grieving partner, the last nine months have been "absolutely harrowing".
Moana Hakavalu went to court yesterday, supported by her sister and other family members, and read her victim impact statement.
She wept as she read it.
"Hayden was the best thing to have ever come into my life. He was the love of my life, my soulmate, best friend and the proud father of our beautiful children Dante, Kaydo, Maia and Tia Rose.
"Losing him has been the worst thing ever and has left an enormous hole in our hearts.
"Our lives have been totally ruined forever and will never ever be the same again.
"Hayden was a good person who lived his life to the fullest and had everything going for him. He had the biggest heart and I am blessed to have had him for 10 years and to have mothered his beautiful children who all resemble him and will carry on his legacy forever."
After the sentencing Ms Hakavalu, 30, said she was struggling to understand how the reparation figure of $7500 had been reached.
"This is not about money but getting justice," she said.
She said she felt put on the spot to give a reparation figure at a restorative justice meeting.
"Hayden was priceless.
"I would give everything to have him back in my life."
When first approached to take part in the restorative justice meeting Ms Hakavalu was not keen and tried to pull out.
"I went along but found her apology hard to accept after all this time because it only came after she was charged," she said. "I accept her apology but it is too little, too late.
"Hayden did not deserve this, he was a good person with a heart of gold and would take his shirt off his back for anyone."
Pictured is Mr Wilson's partner Moana Hakavalu and their children Dante, 8, Kaydo, 6, Maia, 3, and Tia, 1.