A young Christchurch truck driver who ran a red light and killed two people has been sentenced in a tense and emotional court hearing today.

Casey James Winter, 22, pleaded guilty to careless driving causing the death of 35-year-old Fulumoa Daly and his 12-year-old nephew, Ezekiel Tanielu-Loua, as well as injuring three others in a crash in April this year.

He faces 4 months' community detention, 200 hours of community work, a $20,000 emotional harm payment and is disqualified from holding a driver's licence for a year and a half.

Judge Paul Keller said no sentence could adequately reflect the harm and loss caused in this case.

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He took into account Winter's genuine remorse and acknowledged the victims' families' bravery and grace in extending forgiveness.

Winter was driving east on Yaldhurst Rd in a yellow Isuzu truck just after midnight on April 5.

He went through a red light at the Russley Rd intersection and smashed into a red Holden Commodore being driven by Daly.

Daly and Tanielu-Loua sustained fatal injuries in the impact.

Front-seat passenger Sefulu Annie Teevale-Daly, 36, suffered skull bruising and a lumbar spine fracture.

Two 3-year-olds in the back seat were critically injured and flown to Starship children's hospital with skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries.

When Winter was spoken to by police officers, he said he thought the light was green.

Two months earlier, Tanielu-Loua had moved from Christchurch to Auckland to live and was doing well as a Year 8 student at Otahuhu Intermediate School.

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He and his family were back in their hometown of Christchurch at the time of the crash for his mother Aisi Tanielu-Loua's father's 70th birthday.

The extended family were returning home from a late-night family gathering in different cars when the accident happened early Friday morning.

Spared from the crash were Ezekiel's two younger sisters and brother, who were in another car.

"He was the oldest and would help with the little ones," his mum Aisi said at the time.

Ezekiel shared a passion for the Crusaders Super Rugby team, who he would go to support with his uncle Daly - who was behind the wheel in the crash that claimed their lives.