A man faces three years and six months in prison after his methamphetamine-affected driving killed his baby son, paralysed a 2-year-old and injured others.
Wade Makoare, 25, was sentenced in the High Court at Whanganui today.
The Court heard Makoare was driving north toward Auckland with five passengers when he overtook a truck and trailer on a blind corner on SH1 south of Waiouru. The vehicle collided head-on with a family of four in another vehicle at 11.40am on June 13, 2019.
Makoare has never had a driver licence, and had spent the previous night smoking methamphetamine. His partner of eight years had asked him not to overtake the truck.
Because their vehicle was overcrowded, his baby son Micheal John Junior Timarearokaikah Makoare was unrestrained on his partner's lap in the seat behind him.
The baby died at the scene and others in both cars were rushed to hospital with a range of injuries. A 2-year-old girl, who had been restrained in a car seat in the other vehicle, spent four months in Starship Hospital and two months in rehabilitation after the accident.
She is paralysed from the chest down, and clinicians initially thought she would not survive.
In the victim impact report, her mother said the accident had changed the family's life. They had to move house and she was caring for her daughter full-time.
"We cherish our children. We did everything right. Life for us will never be the same again."
Crown prosecutor Chris Wilkinson-Smith said the tragedy had devastated two families and was completely preventable.
Makoare's counsel Peter Brosnahan said there couldn't be a more tragic set of circumstances.
Makoare didn't really ever have a chance, given what he grew up with. Justice Francis Cooke described that as a norm of "substance abuse, gangs and violence".
"That doesn't in any way water down the consequences of his unbelievably stupid actions," Brosnahan said.
Aged 25, Makoare had a good chance of rehabilitation and told Brosnahan he just wanted to go forward and change everything about him. He admitted his fault while at the accident scene and had been through a restorative justice process with his partner's family.
His remorse was palpable, Brosnahan said.
"In fact it makes things worse for him. It's just full on in his face every moment he is awake."
Makaore pleaded guilty to one charge of manslaughter and five charges of dangerous driving. He was disqualified from driving for a year.
His driving sentences will be served at the same time as the sentence for manslaughter.