Nuku'alofa Central Police station. Photo/Kalino Lātū

A man has been given a suspended prison sentence for causing the death of a five-year-old boy while trying to cross from the other side of a road in Tatakamotonga.

Simi Moala, 28, was driving a light open van at speed of between 50 and 60 mph before he overtook two motor vehicles in front of him before fatally hitting the boy last year.

Moala admitted causing death by careless driving at earlier hearing.

Supreme Court Judge Laki Niu heard that the van experienced mechanical failure and Moala was speeding.

“You caused the death of the child. You caused it by driving a motor vehicle which you knew had faulty brakes. You were overtaking and you were travelling at a speed which was excessive for the brakes of the vehicle. You knew you were in a village where people, and children, sometimes run across the road.”

Mr Niu said Moala should have anticipated that kids may run across the road without warning.

“If both front wheels of your vehicle had stopped at the same time and if your rear wheels also both stopped at the same instant as the front wheels, as they ought to have done, there might not have been this death of the child.”

Moala was sentenced to two years six months imprisonment for reckless driving but that sentence is fully suspended for two years upon the following conditions:

He was ordered to carry out 45 hours of unpaid community work.

He was ordered not to commit any offence punishable with imprisonment during the period of his suspension.

Mr Niu said Moala cooperated with police and he was remorseful and felt sorry that he had killed the child.

“You even asked that the child’s family forgive you for what you had done.”


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