Footpath crash-accused named

A man accused of driving a car into two girls as they walked along an Auckland footpath has lost name suppression.

He can be named as Fereti Aiono, an unemployed 27-year-old from Auckland.

Aiono allegedly drove into the 8 and 11-year-olds in Manurewa and then tried to flee the scene on December 22.

He faces charges of causing bodily harm while driving over the legal alcohol breath limit, driving while disqualified and failing to stop when someone was injured.

When Aiono appeared before Manukau District Court on Wednesday he was granted interim suppression so he could inform his extended family. The order lapsed when he reappeared this morning.

Aiono did not enter a plea during the brief appearance. He wore a green camouflage-patterned sweatshirt and remained expressionless, as he did during Wednesday's hearing.

His sister told APNZ on Wednesday the family had spoken briefly to Aiono while he was in police custody and he was "devastated, not only for his family but for the other families''.

On Wednesday Judge Sharon McAuslan told the court that forensic evidence showed the car Aiono was allegedly driving was speeding at 75-94km/h before it hit a kerb and the two girls.

The girls were thrown over a fence and the car came to a stop after smashing through the fence, she said.

Judge McAuslan said once the car stopped, the driver made no attempt to assist the girls: "Instead you accelerated heavily in an attempt to flee.''

That was unsuccessful so he jumped out of the car to try to flee on foot but was caught by members of the public.

The crash caused "life-threatening injuries'' to the girls, she said.

Defence lawyer Hermann Retzlaff said the incident was caused by a van turning on the road.

Outside court, Mr Retzlaff said his client had asked him to pass on an apology to the girls' families.

"At the moment he's feeling what I would describe as obviously remorseful for what's occurred, and at the same time there is a desire to let his family know that he will be able to explain everything to them.''

The younger girl remains in Starship hospital. The 11-year-old has been discharged.

Aiono will remain in custody until his next appearance on February 8.


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