The family of a cyclist killed by a texting driver on a busy Wellington highway say it's a "real kick in the guts" to hear the driver is now allowed to drive again just three months after sentencing.
Khing Tiang Wong, 47, was granted a limited licence in the Wellington District Court this morning, meaning he can drive a car under certain restrictive conditions despite the fact he was disqualified from driving for a year and a half.
Wong was sentenced in November for dangerous driving causing the death of cyclist Brent Norris.
He had been driving on State Highway 2 towards Lower Hutt from Wellington about 6pm on February 3 last year, at the same time 65-year-old Norriss was cycling home in the marked cycle lane, according to the summary of facts.
Wong, who was using his cellphone while driving, crashed heavily into the rear wheel of Norriss' bicycle, catapulting him through the air and causing him to hit the Armco barrier that was positioned between the petrol station and the northbound lanes.
Passersby, including two doctors, tried desperately to save Norriss' life, but he died at the scene due to multiple blunt force trauma injuries.
Wong was sentenced last year to six months' community detention and was disqualified from driving for 18 months.
But in court today Judge Peter Butler granted his application for a limited licence, which included a condition Wong must switch off his cellphone while in the car.
"This was not a case of a sustained, dangerous, or reckless driving episode," he said, finding there was not an ongoing concern for public safety.
But Norriss' son, Darryl Norriss, told the Herald he and his family felt the decision provided no justice.
"We're just devastated, it's a real kick in the guts," he said.
"To hear that he's now got his licence back and is behind the wheel, there's just no justice for dad."
The family felt there was nothing they could do but accept the outcome and try to move on from it, but the decision was difficult to stomach.
"Mr Wong has taken someone's life and destroyed a family by doing something that is illegal, yet he's pretty much got off scot-free with no real punishment.
"It's disgusting, really."
He said he and his family would get through the latest news by being there to support one another.