27 Jul 2015

Tourist driver appeals fatal crash sentence

1:37 pm on 27 July 2015

A Chinese tourist driver jailed for killing a five-year-old Oamaru girl in a crash has appealed against his sentence.

Jing Cao

Jing Cao Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

Jing Cao was jailed last month for 18 months for dangerous driving causing the death of Ruby Marris and seriously injuring her family.

Cao's car was on the wrong side of the road when it collided head-on with the Marris family's vehicle near Moeraki in North Otago.

In court this morning, Cao's lawyer Anne Stevens said his mistake was not deliberate, yet he had received a harsher sentence than other drivers whose actions were more reckless.

Mrs Stevens said the district court judge gave a lot of weight to sending a deterrence message but that was not justified.

Crown prosecutor Robin Bates said Cao's mistake was caused by inattention and tiredness and the sentence was fair.

Justice Gendall reserved his decision but said he expects to make it fairly quickly.

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