An Uber driver who killed a beloved father-of-four has been sentenced to 200 hours community work.

Daljinder Singh struck pedestrian Daniel Kopa with such force in June 2017 that he was propelled about 15 metres and his shoes were knocked off.

The fatal crash happened on Hobson St in Auckland's CBD.

Singh had denied operating a vehicle carelessly causing death but was found guilty after a judge alone trial.


Today in the Auckland District Court, Judge Peter Butler said he accepted that Singh, who had wished to undergo restorative justice, was remorseful.

"Having heard the case it is clear to me that neither you nor Mr Kopa saw each other in the seconds leading up to the collision."

Daljinder Singh was sentenced to 200 hours community work and will pay $5000 in reparations.
Daljinder Singh was sentenced to 200 hours community work and will pay $5000 in reparations.

The judge sentenced Singh to 200 hours of community work. He will also pay $5000 in reparations that he had offered. The judge did not disqualify Singh from driving, noting he had already ceased driving for a long period.

A discharge without conviction was successfully opposed by police prosecutor Sergeant Phil Mann who maintained throughout the case Kopa was there to be seen.

"The defendant has failed to identify tangible consequences of a conviction going forwards," Mann told the court.

Defence lawyer Shannon Withers told the court it should not be perceived that Singh was not remorseful because he had entered a not guilty plea.

The trial had been about the legal issue of carelessness, he said.

Withers said it was clear the crash was not intentional.


"There's no sense or rhyme to it."

Widow 'overwhelmingly relieved'

Speaking after the sentence, Kopa's widow Calli Cleland said she was "overwhelmingly relieved" that Singh had been convicted.

She had opposed Singh's request for a discharge without conviction during the court case.

"I didn't care about a sentence because I think we have all suffered enough through this, I wanted a conviction and that's all I ever wanted."

It was important for Singh's actions to be acknowledged, especially for children growing up without their father.

Cleland and her young family had been getting by simply by putting one foot in front the other - even if some days that was only millimetres.

"It doesn't have to be big steps," she said.

Cleland said it was important to her that Kopa's memory was kept alive and they had made sure they created those memories for her young twins.

Phone call changed her life forever

Cleland told the court today about the phone call on June 6 that changed her life forever and how she rushed to her husband's hospital bedside.

That drive seemed to take forever, she said.

"When I arrived at hospital I was not allowed to see Dann as they were admitting him to critical care. The waiting was torture."

Seeing him for the first time on life support was the "most confronting thing" she had ever seen.

Cleland described how she tried to explain to her young daughters what had happened.

Kopa had suffered a big bang to his head, and his brain had fallen asleep, she told them.

One of her daughters asked if he was going to die.

" 'Yes baby, I think daddy is going to die.' And we sat and hugged crying," she said

"As a parent nothing can prepare you for that conversation."

Since then many more gut-wrenching conversations had followed, she said.

A family outing to watch the Lion King had resulted in her eldest daughter reflecting "I know how Simba feels".

Having the girls was simultaneously the best and worst thing about losing Kopa, Cleland said.

Watching them grieve was painful but they were also what she continued on for.

"They are daily reminders of the gorgeous man I fell in love with when I was a teenager."

Cleland wished Singh the best moving forwards, saying she did not harbour ill-feelings towards him as she understood it was a tragic accident.

It could have been avoided in six thousand different ways, she said.

"You and I will always carry the 6th of June 2017 with us but please don't let it ruin your life."

CCTV footage played during the trial showed Kopa had nearly finished crossing all four lanes of the one-way street when he was struck by the car, just short of the footpath.

Before Kopa died in hospital he had a tattoo in dedication of his children completed as a last wish.

A flood of public support followed with a Givealittle page for Kopa's young family raising just over $136,000.

Tributes made to the slain father included words published by close friend, and Auckland mayor, Phil Goff.

"I had a chance to say my goodbyes to Dann ... It is absolutely heartbreaking for Calli to lose the love of her life and for four little girls to grow up without their dad," Goff said.

During Singh's trial the first police officer to arrive at the scene of the crash, Joseph Gaffney, told the court he was there within minutes and established a cordon.

The Uber driver returned a no-alcohol reading when breath tested by Gaffney.

Singh then made a statement at the Auckland police station, which included the words: "It happened very quickly, in the blink of an eye."