Drink drive gov’t officer in fatal crash fined $1000; escapes causing death charge

    A drink drive government officer who was accused of killing a 46-year-old man was fined $1,000 for driving under the influence of alcohol.

    If he could not pay the fine he would be sent to jail for two months, a judicial decision says.

    But the 49-year-old was acquitted of reckless and drunk driving causing the death of Uini Kava who was allegedly sitting in the middle of By-Pass Road at Longolongo before he died in May 2016.

    Poasi Ngaluafe was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to charges of driving with a breath level limit of 660 micrograms per litre of breath which was well in excess of twice the legal limit of 250 micrograms.

    He was declared innocent of causing death charge after the Crown prosecutor failed to prove Ngaluafe was at fault in failing to be able to avoid the deceased sitting in the  road and that he had been unable to see him and do so because he had been driving too fast and was well over the legal limit.

    ” I am therefore unable to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that anything errant in Mr Ngaluafe’s driving caused the collision”, the judge said.

    “In these circumstances, I acquit the accused of count 1 causing death while driving under the influence of alcohol in  excess of 250 micrograms per litre of breath, contrary to  section 26A(l)  of the Traffic”.

    “I, however, convict him of the alternate charge of driving a motor vehicle while under influence of alcohol in excess of 250 micrograms per litre of breath contrary to section 26(1) (2)(b)  of the Traffic Act to which he pleaded guilty”.

    The judge said this was the first driving offence Ngaluafe had committed whilst over the  prescribed  limit.

    Ngaluafe is employed by the government as ‎Head of Aquaculture Research at Tonga ‎Fisheries Department.

    He was represented in his legal fight by lawyer William Clive Edwards Jr. while ‘Elisapeti Langi acted as Crown Law prosecutor.

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