A driver who ran over a woman while drunk has been given a suspended sentence by the supreme Court.
Charoteesha Tu’ipulotu was charged with reckless driving causing serious bodily harm and drunk driving.
The court was told that on September 8 last year Tu’ipulotu’s boyfriend graduated from Tupou Tertiary Institute.
She had recently returned to Tonga from Australia and went drinking with him and others at the Billfish and then to a bush area at Havelu.
Among those present was a woman named A in the court report.
The group drank into the early hours of the morning. Tu’ipulotu was drunk and argued with her boyfriend, saying she wanted to leave. He refused and was abusive towards her.
She got into and started her boyfriend’s car, which was just a few meters from the group and drove towards them.
‘A’did not hear the car start and did not get out of the way. She was run down by the car which came to a halt with one of the tyres resting on her left thigh.
She suffered a severe fracture to her left femur for which she was hospitalised for a lengthy period.
In sentencing Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said Tu’ipulotu had no intention to run down her boyfriend or ‘A’.
The prosecution said Tu’ipulotu was entitled to credit a first time offender.
She had co-operated with the Police and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. She had also apologised to ‘A’ and provided gifts, which had been accepted. ‘A’ asked the court to be lenient on the offender.
The prosecution said that while a jail sentence was required, it would accept a fully suspended sentence.
“Miss Tu’ipulotu is relatively young and with her supportive family she has excellent rehabilitation prospects,” the judge said.
“She has a problem with alcohol that she must address and she would benefit from the opportunity to develop some alcohol and drug awareness and life skills so she can move forward positively witl1 her life.
“I consider that the interests of Miss Tu’ipulotu and the community will be best served by imposing a fully suspended sentence with a punitive aspect and conditions that aid in her rehabilitation.”
As part of her conditions for suspension of sentence, Tu’ipulotu has to successfully complete life skills and alcohol and drug abuse courses with the Salvation Army and perform 70 hours community work.
She also had her license suspended for two years.
The main points
- A driver who ran over a woman while drunk has been given a suspended sentence by the supreme Court.
- Charoteesha Tu’ipulotu was charged with reckless driving causing serious bodily harm and drunk driving.