A Canadian safety officer wept as he was sentenced today for careless driving causing the death of an 81-year-old woman near Owaka.

Christopher Mark Prince, who now lives in Takapuna in Auckland, previously pleaded guilty and appeared before Judge Michael Crosbie in the Dunedin District Court.

Prince had told police he was to blame for the crash on April 19 this year, but had been affected by sunstrike when he crossed the centre line and collided with Catlins resident Heather Jean Evelyn Burgess at 4.45pm on the Papatowai Highway.

Mrs Burgess died five days later in Dunedin Hospital.


Judge Crosbie said Prince had lived an "exemplary'' life, and the trauma of the crash had an ongoing impact.

Acknowledging the presence of Mrs Burgess' family in the court, Judge Crosbie said they attended a restorative justice meeting with Prince recently.

Judge Crosbie said Mrs Burgess had been an energetic and lively woman, who was heavily involved with her family.

The court heard her family was "lovely'' and had been generous towards Prince. They had urged him to "remember the good times'' he'd had in New Zealand, and not let the tragic accident define the rest of his life.

Judge Crosbie said that as a trained safety officer, Prince placed a high priority on safety, and had an ''abundance'' of references from people who knew him as a ''very good human being''.

Prince was fined $1500 and ordered to pay $13,500 in emotional harm reparation to the family.

He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay court costs of $130.