Tears at double fatality hearing

By Staff Reporter editorial@age.co.nz -
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A judge in Masterton District court has counselled the families of two teens killed in a car crash in the main street of Masterton. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK
A judge in Masterton District court has counselled the families of two teens killed in a car crash in the main street of Masterton. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK

A Youth Court judge yesterday urged the driver in a car crash that killed two Featherston teenagers to be honest with the victims' families at an upcoming family group conference.

The Featherston 14-year-old appeared again in Youth Court at Masterton District Court yesterday on two charges of dangerous driving causing death and one of dangerous driving causing injury - as well as failing to stop for police, driving while forbidden and unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle.

They relate to the events of January 31, when a car driven by the teenager crashed in central Masterton and killed Hoani Korewha and Pacer Willacy-Scott, both 15, of Featherston.

Yesterday members of Hoani and Pacer's families were present in the courtroom and at one point a woman could be heard crying.

Judge Tony Walsh remanded the accused until June 15 for a family group conference, or FGC, to take place.

"I am aware that members of the victims' families are here and I acknowledge their presence," the judge said.

"(The accused) has not denied that charges and a family group conference will be held ... you are entitled to attend."

Judge Walsh said these conferences "are a very important part of the youth justice process".

He said he would not say too much about the FGC because a full process would be undertaken at the conference itself.

The judge told the accused: "It is important that you are upfront and honest with the participants.

"I know that will be stressful for you, and stressful for your mum and dad, and also for the victims' families. It is a tense time."

If an agreed outcome were reached at the conference, the court would need to take that into account, Judge Walsh said.

A psychological report ordered at the last appearance was now complete, and the judge said this "contains a lot of helpful insights into circumstances affecting you that have to be addressed at that conference".

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