4 Jul 2011

British tutor given community service over fatal crash

10:26 pm on 4 July 2011

A British man has been sentenced to 300 hours' community service over the death of two people in a crash in Waikato.

George Skofic, 18, earlier pleaded guilty in the Hamilton District Court to five charges of careless driving causing injury or death.

Rose Ana Kingi, 21, and Eruera Munroe, aged 22, died after Skofic's car crossed the centre-line before crashing head-on with another vehicle on State Highway 29 near Karapiro on 20 February this year.

Three other people, including two passengers in Skofic's car, were injured.

During sentencing on Monday, Judge Merelina Burnett accepted there were no aggravating features such as alcohol, speeding or reckless driving - just a moment's inattention.

Judge Burnett also disqualified Skofic from driving for two-and-a-half years and ordered him to pay $24,000 reparation.

Skofic had taken part in a restorative justice conference and no member of the victims' families wanted him jailed.

Ms Kingi's mother, Tina Mitchell, says her daughter would not have wanted that.

"He's just a boy, and my daughter was such a big person that she wouldn't have wanted him to go to jail either - even though she lost her life."

Skofic has been in New Zealand working as a tutor at a Hamilton school in his gap year before going to university.