French tourist gets detention for traffic death

By Mike Dinsdale

SENTENCE: French tourist Gilles Georges Jego, was sentenced in the Whangarei District Court yesterday. PHOTO/MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM
SENTENCE: French tourist Gilles Georges Jego, was sentenced in the Whangarei District Court yesterday. PHOTO/MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM

A French tourist who killed a woman in a Far North road accident while he was driving on the wrong side of the road won't be able to return to his homeland until he serves his court-ordered home detention in Whangarei.

The sentence of home detention and $13,000 of emotional harm reparation for Gilles Georges Jego who killed a woman and seriously injured a Northland motorcyclist will help all parties heal after the tragedy, a judge says.

Jego, 59, retired, was yesterday sentenced in the Whangarei District Court after pleading guilty to one charge of careless driving causing death and two of careless driving causing injury.

The car the tourist was driving collided with a motorcycle on Inland Rd, just off State Highway 10 at the foot of the Karikari Peninsula, on February 11 shortly after crossing a one lane-bridge, going onto the wrong side of the road..

Anne Eileen Tomkinson, 60, from England, who was the pillion passenger on the motorcycle, died at the scene, while the local man who was riding the machine, fishing charter operator Stephen Goodwin, and Jego's wife, who was a front-seat passenger in the car, were injured.

Mr Goodwin was flown to Whangarei Hospital, where he was in surgery for seven hours as doctors worked on injuries including a broken vertebra. Mrs Jego suffered neck and chest injuries.

Judge Greg Davis sentenced Jego to two months' home detention and ordered that he pay $6500 in emotional harm reparation to the family of Ms Tomkinson and $6500 to Mr Goodwin.

Judge Davis said that, as Mr Goodwin drove towards Jego's vehicle the tourist took evasive action, but the accident was unavoidable.

Jego had a restorative justice meeting with Ms Tomkinson's family shortly after the crash and immediately after sentencing yesterday held a similar meeting with Mr Goodwin's wife, Vanessa.

Judge Davis said the forgiving attitude of the victims towards Jego, his guilty plea made at the earliest opportunity and sentence imposed, would help all sides heal after the tragedy.

"There's a sadness [the victims are feeling] as a consequence of this accidents, [but] they have expressed generosity of spirit towards Mr Jego that, in my view, is remarkable."

The judge said the message from this case was that all drivers, regardless of whether they were tourists or locals, was that they need to drive with caution at all times.

Jego had an interpreter in court with him to translate the judge's comments and will serve his home detention at the home of a friend in the Whangarei district.

- Northern Advocate

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