7 Feb 2013

Kenyan lawyer says NZ teen could be jailed for life

2:52 pm on 7 February 2013

A New Zealand teenager who was the driver in a fatal crash in January could face life in prison if he is extradited to face trial, a Kenyan lawyer says.

New Zealanders Brian and Grace Johnston and former pupil Caitlin Dickson were killed when the minivan they were travelling in along with other volunteers from Bethlehem College rolled into a ditch. Kenyan Christopher Mmata was also killed.

The group of 19 volunteers were travelling from the port city of Kisumu to the small village of Mahanga when the crash occurred on 15 January and were in Africa as part of the Tauranga-based college's missionary programme.

On returning to New Zealand, 18-year-old David Fellows admitted driving the vehicle when it crashed, saying that he was told not to admit that while in Kenya.

Lawyer Hinga Waiyaki says if poor roads or mechanical issues weren't the cause of the crash, Mr Fellows could be charged with dangerous driving causing death, which carries a sentence of life in prison in Kenya.

Mr Wyarky says it is common for Kenyans to tell foreigners not to admit to crimes because of the harsh sentences.

A lawyer for Mr Fellows says he has not heard from Kenyan authorities.