Amy is the head of news for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: Sentence must be served

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Jieling Xiao, who caused the death of a motorcyclist, has had her sentence reduced to home detention. Photo/File
Jieling Xiao, who caused the death of a motorcyclist, has had her sentence reduced to home detention. Photo/File

The sentence of a foreign driver who caused the death of a Tauranga motorcyclist when she veered into his path has been reduced sparking fears she will be deported before serving her time.

Jieling Xiao, 27, a Chinese national, caused the death of Rhys Middleton, 23, in the Waitangi Weekend crash.

She pled guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing death and in June was sentenced, at the Napier District Court, to 17 months in prison.

This week her appeal for a reduction in the sentence was successful and she was given the lesser sentence of nine months' home detention and 150 hours' community work.

Mr Middleton's parents want to make sure she serves her home detention sentence before she is deported - and I agree with them.

It seems Xiao had made efforts to account for her lack of experience. Justice Jillian Mallon said she had read the road code, practised driving around town and practised driving on the open road the day before the crash.

Yes, she should have known her driving was not safe but she was not driving aggressively or affected by alcohol or drugs - she simply made a mistake which sadly took a life.

I believe a home detention sentence is more fitting but she must serve it before she is sent home.

We all have to take responsibility for our actions and I hope Immigration New Zealand makes sure that happens.

The justice system needs to treat everyone fairly and equally be they a New Zealander or a foreigner.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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