6 Apr 2010

Chilean apology for death caused by diplomat

8:11 pm on 6 April 2010

The Chilean government is apologising at a memorial service on Tuesday for a Wellington woman killed in a car crash caused by a Chilean diplomat in 1984.

Sacha MacFarlane, 20, died in a head-on collision when Luis Felipe Lopez, who had been drinking, crossed the centreline.

He was given diplomatic immunity, flown out of New Zealan and never brought to justice.

The Chilean embassy decided to apologise after Ms MacFarlane's father, Kester MacFarlane, wrote to it last year.

Ambassador Luis Lillo says he felt it was necessary to acknowledge the death.

Mr MacFarlane says the apology is helping to bring closure to the family.

Mr Lillo says such an incident would be handled very differently if it happened again and the diplomat would be held accountable.