The man accused of causing the deaths of three Rotorua Higgins workers has pleaded guilty to three charges of careless driving causing death in the Whakatāne District Court today.
In front of a gallery packed with family members of Haki Hiha, David Eparaima and Dudley Soul Raroa, a summary of facts was read before the court.
The summary said that on February 26 this year, David Cox was the driver of a Mitsubishi heavy truck on SH2.
While travelling about 90km/h the truck veered to the left and struck a Higgins vehicle.
The impact shunted the Higgins truck 180 degrees causing it to roll into a roadside culvert.
Three men working in the culvert were struck and fatally injured.
Judge Paul Mabey told Cox's lawyer Tony Balme that sentencing should take place in Whakatāne and set a date of June 19.
He then addressed families of the three men.
"The defendant has accepted responsibility for causing the death of these three men," Judge Cameron said.
"I have raised with counsel the potential for a restorative justice conference and I urge you to take part.
"Experience shows it is a very effective process in some cases," the judge said.
He also stressed to whānau that careless driving causing death was one of the less serious charges in the court process despite a life being lost.
As well as the possibility of a restorative justice conference, Judge Mabey also asked for a pre-sentence report and a reparation report for sentencing.
Outside the court a sister of one of the dead men became very emotional.
She was comforted outside the court.
Family talking outside the court could be heard saying they did not want any money, in relation to the reparation report.
The three men were killed on the Matatā straights of SH2, near Whakatāne while they worked to clear a culvert at the side of the road about 1.50pm on February 26.
Police said four trucks were involved in the incident.
All three men worked for contracting firm Higgins.
In March a blessing took place on the Matatā straights at the site where three Higgins workers were killed.