Tour bus crash driver’s appeal dismissed

The crash happened on the Queenstown-Glenorchy Rd in January. Photo: Tracey Roxburgh
The crash happened on the Queenstown-Glenorchy Rd in January. Photo: Tracey Roxburgh
A judge has dismissed an appeal from the driver of a tourist bus that crashed near Queenstown, causing a girl and woman to lose limbs.

Chinese national Liang Fang had appealed his sentence in the High Court at Invercargill, stating a refused discharge without a conviction could affect his visa.

Fang was driving a bus and trailer operated by Awing Travel NZ Ltd and carrying 23 Chinese tourists when it crashed at Wilson Bay, 10km from Queenstown, on January 21 this year.

A 10-year-old girl lost both hands and a woman lost an arm as a result of the crash on the Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd.

Fang admitted charges of careless driving causing injury and was sentenced in June by Judge John Strettell in the Queenstown District Court.

At the time, he was refused a discharge without conviction.

Fang’s defence lawyer Grant Tyrrell submitted this week that the district court judge erred in his assessment of the seriousness of the offending.

He also said the consequences for Fang were sufficiently severe as he was asked by Immigration New Zealand to leave the country.

Justice Dunningham acknowledged in her decision the serious consequence that a deportation would have. However, for "a single man, with family back in China", she did not see the impact of returning to his country being "as great as in some other cases".

She said Fang’s carelessness in the face of the significant responsibility of driving a tour bus was relatively serious.

"I accept that the consequences of conviction for him are likely to go beyond that of other offenders. I also accept that this was an offence of carelessness rather than deliberate wrongdoing.

"While the consequences for Mr Fang will be harsh compared with other offenders, I do not consider that they are out of all proportion to the gravity of the offending. "

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