Crash tourist ordered to pay

By Luke Anderson

Sapna Deepak Mehta, 26, was convicted in the Queenstown District Court today on two charges of careless driving causing injury.
Sapna Deepak Mehta, 26, was convicted in the Queenstown District Court today on two charges of careless driving causing injury.

An Indian tourist must pay $1200 before she leaves the country and another $1800 in monthly instalments after seriously injuring two motorcyclists in a crash.

Sapna Deepak Mehta, 26, was convicted in the Queenstown District Court today on two charges of careless driving causing injury.

Mehta failed to give way to a motorbike at a T-intersection in Rotorua on January 6. The $35,000 bike collided with the front right of her rental vehicle, leaving its driver, Antony Kakau, with a broken ankle and wrist.

His pillion passenger Jillayne Dickson suffered a shattered knee and broken leg, for which she has twice been operated on to insert plates and screws.

Duty solicitor Bryce Whiting told Judge Mark Callaghan that Mehta and her husband were due to leave the country on Thursday.

The costs of repairing the motorcycle, estimated at $10,000 to $15,000, and rental car were covered by insurance, but Mehta had only $1200 to offer for emotional harm reparation.

Judge Callaghan asked Mr Whiting: "Have you read the victim impact statement?

"You better have a look at it because $600 per person for these injuries is not acceptable."

Judge Callaghan stood the matter down twice yesterday to give it further consideration, then adjourned it to this morning so Mr Whiting could try to check Mehta's travel insurance liability terms.

Mr Whiting told Judge Callaghan today he had been unable to contact the company, but a check of its website had led him to conclude it was unlikely to pay out on a claim.

He proposed a "trust arrangement" in which Mehta paid $1200 immediately for emotional harm, with the balance to be paid in monthly instalments after they returned to India.

Judge Callaghan ordered reparation payments of $1000 to Mr Kakau and $2000 to Ms Dickson. The payment to Mr Kakau and $200 of the payment to Ms Dickson were payable immediately; the $1800 balance would be paid in monthly $100 instalments.

He also disqualified Mehta from driving for six months.

ODT

[NZME-NZG-NZC]

-NZH

- Otago Daily Times

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