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A young Russian man faces deportation after being convicted of reckless driving causing injury to his four friends, including a promising athlete who missed out on competing in the Commonwealth Games because of her injuries, a court has been told.
Daniil Buzmakov, 19, breached the conditions of his restricted licence when he set out early on November 6, 2013, with five friends in the car and after he had been drinking.
The Auckland District Court was today told how he was "showing off" speeding away from the house with "tyres spinning", and ignoring at least one request to slow down.
The overloaded car meant some passengers were unrestrained when he crashed into a tree in the Auckland suburb of Glen Innes -- on a rainy night at around 80km/h in a 50km/h zone -- injuring everyone in the car, including himself.
Four of the friends were seriously injured, including Riandri De Bruyn, a promising young hurdler who fractured her elbow and almost lost her arm. She was in hospital for nine days and her rehabilitation hindered her training programme, meaning she missed the selections for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, according to her victim impact statement.
Two other girls in the car suffered injuries to their pelvises, with one suffering long-term complications which may impact on a future pregnancy.
Another boy in the car hurt his shoulder and received a concussion.
Asking for a discharge without conviction, defence counsel Richard Slade argued Buzmakov had been told by Immigration New Zealand that if he was convicted he could be deported.
He was on a temporary visa after moving to New Zealand when he was 6.
He was worried that if sent back to Russia, which has compulsory conscription, he would be forced to serve in Ukraine.
Judge Claire Ryan, said while she agreed there was a "real and appreciable risk" in that happening, it was also true of all people who came before the courts from another country which has mandatory conscription.
"I'm not satisfied that the risk that you may have to leave this country, as many others do, is out of all proportion to the gravity of this particular offending," she told him.
She sentenced him to three month' community detention and 90 hours' community work, and disqualified him from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 12 months.
In sentencing Judge Ryan described Buzmakov as "a young man with great promise" who had "impeccable" references and had apologised to his victims.
However, his actions that night were "highly reckless, stupid and selfish".
"You were lucky, as were your victims, that somebody wasn't killed that night."
A message needed to be sent to young people that "they are not bullet-proof and nor are their friends", she said.
"Driving in this way is going to kill somebody if not permanently harm or disable them," she said.
- Patrice Dougan of APNZ