The Chinese driver of a vehicle that collided with a bus, killing an elderly man from Leauva’a in March this year, has been fined $10,000.
In doing so, Keiji Li escaped a custodial sentence for the death of Tanielu Pati.
The decision was delivered by Supreme Court Justice Lei'ataualesa Daryl Clarke yesterday.
The defendant was represented by Leota Raymond Schuster while Lealofioamoa Mamaia of the Attorney General’s Office was the prosecutor.
Justice Leiataulesa said the accused was convicted and sentenced in respect to the charge of negligent driving causing death.
“You are to pay reparation to Atamamao Tanielu, the wife of the deceased, a sum of $10,000,” Justice Leiataualesa ordered.
“That sum is to be paid in full within four calendar months. It is to be paid in one payment within that four month period and default in payment six months imprisonment."
“You are to carry out 200 hours of community work as directed by probation service."
“The accused’s passport is to be surrendered to the Registrar and will be released on satisfaction of his sentence.”
Initially, Mr. Li was charged with manslaughter and negligent driving causing death which he pleaded not guilty to.
However during the course of closing submissions last month, Leota applied for leave to vacate the defendant’s not guilty plea to the charge of negligent driving causing death with a guilty plea.
The charge of manslaughter was dismissed by Justice Leiataua when the prosecution failed to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt.
According to details, on March 11th, 2017 at 2pm, the accused was driving a Toyota Estima Minivan on the west coast road. He was driving from the west on the direction of Faleolo Airport to the east towards Apia.
The bus was travelling in the opposite lane towards Leauvaa Uta. The deceased was a passenger on the bus that afternoon. He was seated on the right side of the window behind the spare seat.
At Puipaa village, the minivan driven by the accused, collided with the bus. The collision between the minivan and the bus caused significant damage to the right front and side of the bus ripping it open.
When the exterior right side of the bus was ripped open, the deceased fell from the bus together with the baby he was holding. The deceased died because of serious injuries which he sustained when he fell.
According to the victim’s impact report, the deceased man’s wife finds it hard to forgive the accused for what had happened.
She also stated that her husband was involved in a cabbage plantation together with other small businesses that funded their family needs.
She described him as a loving father to their children and a great husband to her.
According to Justice Leiataualesa, the widow and the deceased are also the victims of the offending.
Justice Leiataualesa said there was a reconciliation made by the accused to the family as well as the village of the deceased.
There was also a payment of $8,000 to her and $2,000 to the village of the deceased by the accused, which the widow had also confirmed.