Kiribati man going home after he wreaked havoc

Katimango admitted careless driving

Katimango admitted careless driving

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A Kiribati man in Gisborne on a work programme will go home shame-faced after offending that will preclude him from returning to New Zealand.

Katirere Katimango, 21, admitted driving with excess blood-alcohol (157mgs), two counts of careless driving and failing to stop and ascertain injury after a traffic accident.

On July 12, intoxicated and not licensed to drive, Katimango ploughed into the back of a vehicle waiting at the roundabout on Gladstone and Lytton Roads. He caused $10,000-worth of damage.

Another driver pulled up behind Katimango, who panicked and forcibly reversed into her. The driver of that vehicle was injured and significantly inconvenienced by it. She lived in Tolaga Bay and, unable to drive with her injured arm, had to rely on others to bring her to Gisborne for daily treatment therapy.

Katimango fled the scene at speed before crashing into a roadside power pole, which broke off at the base. Reparation had not been sought by the power company, which was fortunate for Katimango, Judge Charles Blackie said.

Katimango appeared before the judge earlier in the week, when it initially seemed the court had no option other than to convict and discharge him without further penalty. He was due to leave the country when his visa expired on September 14. All the court could have done, was hold him in custody until then, the judge said.

Not happy with that, Judge Charles Blackie adjourned the case and Katimango returned to court with $3800 he had managed to arrange for allocation as reparation.

Judge Blackie noted counsel Melanie Tarsau had put in a lot of work to assist Katimango to arrange reparation. His employers had also helped. Katimango would continue working until he left the country.

Ms Tarsau said while the money went only part-way to addressing the financial debt owed to the complainants, it was all Katimango could arrange and was substantial for someone in his situation. As a lump sum, it was worth more than drip-fed reparation more commonly ordered by the court.

The judge waived a fine that would normally apply for the drink-driving but ordered Katimango to pay $220 for medical expenses of the blood test. There was also a nine-month driving ban, a theoretical one because Katimango has no licence.

Ms Tarsau said the case involved a young man at the mercy of a foreign culture and failing to cope with freedoms not previously known to him. He had never had a driver’s licence and was not used to consuming alcohol.

The havoc he had wreaked was not lost on him. The consequences of it would be a heavy penalty for someone so young.

He had to disclose his offending to his mother at home and would return shame-faced. Several people were relying on him for money and he had been nominated by a chief from an outer island to attend the work programme here, Ms Tarsau said.

He had proven to be a good worker and his employer still supported him.

This was probably the only mistake Katimango would make and it had ruined his potential to work here and to provide for his family in Kiribati.

He had written a heartfelt apology for the court, which had taken him most of the day due to his limited understanding of English.

A Kiribati man in Gisborne on a work programme will go home shame-faced after offending that will preclude him from returning to New Zealand.

Katirere Katimango, 21, admitted driving with excess blood-alcohol (157mgs), two counts of careless driving and failing to stop and ascertain injury after a traffic accident.

On July 12, intoxicated and not licensed to drive, Katimango ploughed into the back of a vehicle waiting at the roundabout on Gladstone and Lytton Roads. He caused $10,000-worth of damage.

Another driver pulled up behind Katimango, who panicked and forcibly reversed into her. The driver of that vehicle was injured and significantly inconvenienced by it. She lived in Tolaga Bay and, unable to drive with her injured arm, had to rely on others to bring her to Gisborne for daily treatment therapy.

Katimango fled the scene at speed before crashing into a roadside power pole, which broke off at the base. Reparation had not been sought by the power company, which was fortunate for Katimango, Judge Charles Blackie said.

Katimango appeared before the judge earlier in the week, when it initially seemed the court had no option other than to convict and discharge him without further penalty. He was due to leave the country when his visa expired on September 14. All the court could have done, was hold him in custody until then, the judge said.

Not happy with that, Judge Charles Blackie adjourned the case and Katimango returned to court with $3800 he had managed to arrange for allocation as reparation.

Judge Blackie noted counsel Melanie Tarsau had put in a lot of work to assist Katimango to arrange reparation. His employers had also helped. Katimango would continue working until he left the country.

Ms Tarsau said while the money went only part-way to addressing the financial debt owed to the complainants, it was all Katimango could arrange and was substantial for someone in his situation. As a lump sum, it was worth more than drip-fed reparation more commonly ordered by the court.

The judge waived a fine that would normally apply for the drink-driving but ordered Katimango to pay $220 for medical expenses of the blood test. There was also a nine-month driving ban, a theoretical one because Katimango has no licence.

Ms Tarsau said the case involved a young man at the mercy of a foreign culture and failing to cope with freedoms not previously known to him. He had never had a driver’s licence and was not used to consuming alcohol.

The havoc he had wreaked was not lost on him. The consequences of it would be a heavy penalty for someone so young.

He had to disclose his offending to his mother at home and would return shame-faced. Several people were relying on him for money and he had been nominated by a chief from an outer island to attend the work programme here, Ms Tarsau said.

He had proven to be a good worker and his employer still supported him.

This was probably the only mistake Katimango would make and it had ruined his potential to work here and to provide for his family in Kiribati.

He had written a heartfelt apology for the court, which had taken him most of the day due to his limited understanding of English.

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