Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Home detention for driver who killed sister in Mt Roskill crash

Iriea Natua was sentenced today at the Auckland District Court. Photo / Amelia Wade
Iriea Natua was sentenced today at the Auckland District Court. Photo / Amelia Wade

Iriea Natua drove drunk and sped - it was a decision which killed his sister, injured two friends and left him facing a year of home detention.

The 20-year-old from Mt Albert was sentenced today at the Auckland District Court for driving dangerously causing the death of Elizabeth Natua, two counts of driving dangerously causing injury, and one charge of excess breath alcohol.

He was 19 at the time of the crash.

The court today heard how on Sunday October 11 last year, Natua got behind the wheel drunk with his sister and two friends.

The weather was fine, the road was dry, traffic was light and the speed limit on Fairley Ave in Mt Roskill was 50 km/h.

Natua was going 82 km/h and a test would later find he had a blood alcohol reading of 70mcg of alcohol per 100mcg of blood. The limit for people under 20 is zero and 50mcg for adults.

As he approached a dip in the road ahead of an intersection, he lost control of the car and hit a parked vehicle, careened across the road to hit another car, then collided into another before eventually slamming into a tree on the right passenger side.

That was where Elizabeth was sitting. She died at the scene from her injuries.

Natua's other two female passengers both suffered serious injuries - one suffered five broken ribs, four fractured vertebrae as well as a hip fracture.

As details of the accident were read by Judge Ajit Singh in court today, Natua's many family members sobbed and security guards handed out tissues.

Judge Singh said there was no sentence he could impose to back bring back his sister or reverse the suffering the two other victims had to endure.

"I understand you were very close to your sister and that in itself will be a punishment with which you will live for the rest of your life."

He accepted Natua had genuine remorse for his offending, especially given a private meeting had been held between him, his family, his victims and their whanau.

"I understand that the victims were surprised but at the same time very happy that you and your family made contact with the victims and the victims' families," Judge Singh said.

"An apology was given and the apology was accepted."

The judge adopted a starting point of three years and four months in prison, then gave discounts for his genuine remorse, previous good character, young age, early guilty plea, family support, his self-initiated counselling programmes for drugs and alcohol, as well as the trauma from the crash.

The end sentence was 12 months home detention for the dangerous driving causing death, with a three-year disqualification from driving, 12 months for the two charges of dangerous driving causing injury, and three years disqualification - to be served concurrently.

He was also sentenced to 250 hours community service and six months disqualification from driving - also to be served concurrently - for the excess blood alcohol charge.

Judge Singh also ordered Natua to pay $1000 in reparations to a man whose car was written off in the incident.​

- NZ Herald

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