Suspended sentence for driver that caused death of young intern

The 32-year-old man who was involved in road accident, which claimed the life of a young University of the South Pacific (USP) student who was undertaking internship with the Department of Forestry, has received a suspended sentence of two years.

The defendant was ordered to perform 120 hours community work and was disqualified from driving for a period of 6 months.

Gibson Lui was charged with one count of causing death by reckless driving and one count of driving under the influence of alcohol.

On November 6, 2019, Mr. Lui was driving a black Ford Ranger vehicle, which went off road, leading to one loss of life and two passengers with serious injuries to their bodies.

The Christmas party of the Department of Forestry was organised at Gideon’s landing on that day. According to the court, Lui consumed some kava and alcohol. He drove the vehicle and left for Vila with three others, including the deceased, despite being told that he was too drunk to drive, the court heard.

Lui was driving very fast that he took the lead ahead of others who were also at the party and were all heading back to Vila.

“When they approached the Klems hill are before the Tamate river, they saw your vehicle lying on its side with people crowding around it.”

The driver was crawling out of the vehicle with two others. The deceased died on the spot.

Prosecution witnesses confirmed Lui was approaching at a high speed and as a result, he lost control of the vehicle and it rolled over a number of times before landing on its side.

The deceased suffered head injuries as a result, he died on the spot.

Lui regretted his actions and was remorseful. He performed a custom reconciliation ceremony at Mele village to the deceased’s relatives.

He received an end sentence of 15 months imprisonment for count 1 and 3 months imprisonment for count 2.

When considering the circumstances of the suspended sentence, Justice Dudley Aru suspended the sentence given that Lui was a first time offender, and that he is the family breadwinner with a good educational background.

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