Reparation ordered after father-to-be killed in crash

A “momentary lapse of judgement” by an Oamaru driver had tragic consequences for the family of a young father-to-be, the Oamaru District Court heard yesterday.

David Tetaupe Johnston (58), labourer, was appearing for sentence on a charge of careless driving causing the death of Samuel Alexander Charles Leith
(23) in Parsons Rd on October 21 last year.

Judge Peter Rollo said Johnston was driving a car in Parsons Rd and came to a stop at the intersection with Saleyards Rd. There was a car stopped opposite him, which had the right of way, and he let it proceed.

He pulled out into the path of Mr Leith, who was riding a motorcycle and whom he had not seen. Johnston administered first aid and remained at the scene until emergency services arrived.

Mr Leith died in Christchurch Hospital a month later from injuries. He left behind a partner who was 23 weeks pregnant.

Police accepted the topography of the road and a power pole and cycle trail signage had contributed to obscuring Mr Leith from view.

Johnston and Mr Leith’s family previously met in a restorative justice hearing in which Johnston expressed his “genuine remorse”.

“There was no overt driving fault except you didn’t see the motorbike approaching. You gave a heartfelt, genuine apology which was accepted,” Judge Rollo said.

Johnston was ordered to pay reparation of $3500 to Mr Leith’s father, who had owned the motorbike, and $2000 in emotional harm payment to the mother of Mr Leith’s unborn child.

He was not disqualified from driving. A disqualification would mean Johnston would lose his job, which would affect his ability to pay reparation, Judge Rollo said.

drivesouth-pow-generic-1.png

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter