The screams of pain in the days before a Rotorua woman died after being run over by a drunk driver will always haunt her son.
But despite that, Quinten Gale didn't want the man responsible for his mother, Martine Gale's, death to go to jail.
That's because the man behind the wheel, Rotorua acupuncturist Xianju (Aaron) Pan, was remorseful, is a man who doesn't normally drink alcohol, is a medical professional, a family man and someone who is respected by his community.
A High Court judge has agreed.
Justice Christian Whata yesterday sentenced Pan to 11 months' home detention after Pan earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of driving with excess breath alcohol causing death and one charge of failing to stop.
Pan, who was born in China, was described at his sentencing as someone who didn't normally drink large amounts of alcohol. But on January 23 this year he decided to celebrate the Chinese New Year. He finished work at 11am and met friends at a local restaurant.
He drank beer and Baiju, a Chinese spirit similar in nature and strength to whisky. It can be between 35 and 60 per cent alcohol.
About 1.30pm, Pan left, got into his car and drove away, scraping his wheel rim on the kerb while doing so.
He drove through the Central Mall carpark, on to Victoria St and along Ranolf St towards Malfroy Rd, and was seen cutting off another motorist, not indicating for any of his turns and crossing the centreline while turning on to Ranolf St.
Martine Gale was crossing the road as Pan approached the roundabout travelling between 40 and 50km/h. Gale was clearly visible to motorists behind Pan but he did not slow down and hit Gale, knocking her to the ground and driving over her, the police's summary of facts said.
Pan slowed down "momentarily" after running over Gale but then continued driving. A witness followed him to a Devon St property and saw him "stumbling and swaying" as he went inside.
The witness directed police to the house who found Pan inside.
Blood taken at 3.15pm showed he had 214 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 50mcg.
Justice Whata said Martine Gale was 71 and was an artist who studied at Otago Art School. She had a daughter and a son, and two grandchildren.
She suffered significant injuries, dying six days later from her head trauma.
Justice Whata said Quinten Gale's victim impact statement talked about how difficult it was for him to see his mother in so much pain and hearing her screams at the hospital "continue to haunt him".
Crown solicitor Amanda Gordon said there should be a starting point of four years' imprisonment as someone's life had been taken.
However, Pan's lawyer, Bill Lawson, said it was an unusual combination of events that led to his offending and was "entirely out of character".
Through restorative justice, Pan had agreed to pay reparations of $15,000 and expressed his sincere remorse. He was also an extremely low risk of reoffending.
Lawson said it was important for Pan to make it clear to the court that in making submissions about his sentence, it would in no way diminish his remorse or everything the Gale family had been through.
"Good sentencing practice requires a step back and look at the individual and how those circumstances came about. It is very clear this was a very unique situation. He is not someone who regularly goes out and drinks."
Lawson said Pan was unaccustomed to alcohol and he had also taken vertigo medication that day which could have made the effects worse.
"This man is ordinarily a right-thinking man of the community."
Justice Whata gave a starting point of three years and 10 months imprisonment but gave significant reductions for good character, remorse, restorative justice and early guilty pleas.
He said Pan was of good character, had a supportive family environment, had four children under 16 and was a very low risk of reoffending.
"Drink-driving causing death is a very serious offence that must be deterred but in your case Mr Pan, your unqualified remorse and your otherwise good character combined with Quinten's desire that you should not be imprisoned mean that a merciful approach may be adopted."
He landed at a final sentence of 11 months' home detention, disqualified him from driving for four years, made an order for an alcohol interlock system to be installed in Pan's vehicle and ordered he pay $15,000 in reparations.