Drunk driver jailed over World Cup final night death

By Edward Gay

Sanele Pauli died instantly when he was hit by a car in Pt Chevalier. Photo / Supplied
Sanele Pauli died instantly when he was hit by a car in Pt Chevalier. Photo / Supplied

While the rest of New Zealand celebrated the All Blacks' World Cup win, the Pauli family were being told that their loved one had been killed by a repeat drink driver who was speeding.

Sanele Pauli, 17, had been with his two brothers at the Viaduct in central Auckland, celebrating the All Blacks' one point victory over France.

Moments after getting off a bus in Pt Chevalier, he was hit and killed by Sivo Kerr who was driving home from his girlfriend's house after drinking vodka pre-mixes.

Kerr should never have been behind the wheel. Today the Auckland District Court heard he was a disqualified driver who was travelling at more than 70km an hour in a 50km zone.

He later blew a breath alcohol reading of 571mcg. The legal limit is 400mcg.

The qualified mechanical engineer was sentenced today to three years and one month in prison, having earlier pleaded guilty to driving with excess breath alcohol causing death and admitting a charge of driving while disqualified.

Judge Grant Fraser also disqualified Kerr from driving for five years and ordered him to pay $1500 in emotional reparations to the victim's family when he gets out of jail.

"Sadly with such a large loss of such a young person, no sentence of any court can put that right,'' Judge Fraser said.

He said Kerr had previous convictions for driving while disqualified and drink driving. His criminal record runs to eight pages.

Judge Fraser also read statements from Sanele's mother Teevao Pauli who described her son as a caring, loving person.

"She says if you end up in jail, it is good that you will be able to come out and move on ... Importantly, she says she will never be able to do this.''

Sanele's seven year-old sister told the court that she misses her brother every day. "I miss his funny jokes and his beautiful smile.''

The incident had also left its mark on Kerr who told a probation officer that he wakes frequently in the middle of the night thinking about how Sanele died.

Kerr's lawyer Catherine Baun said her client was remorseful and had pleaded guilty at an early opportunity.

She said Kerr had also sought help for his alcohol problem and had written a letter to the Pauli family to say sorry.

In sentencing, Judge Fraser said the community needed to be protected from Kerr.

He told the 39-year-old that he would have to live with what he had done for the rest of his life but to embrace all the help on offer while he was in prison.

"I understand Sanele's family is absolutely distraught and I suspect they are very, very angry about what has happened.''

He thanked Sanele's family who attended the proceedings and praised them for their dignity.

Outside court, Mrs Pauli said a witness had described seeing Sanele laughing and smiling before he was killed by Kerr.

"He was thinking about what he had watched and he was really proud of it.''

She said the family had used their faith to forgive Kerr for what he had done and had told that to police on the night they got the news.

"I feel sorry for the man because his life is going to be ruined inside prison.''

- APNZ

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