Woman charged with negligent driving

A 29-year-old woman of Leauvaa is facing one charge of negligent driving causing death in the District Court. 

The prosecution has alleged that Rose Hope Ah Leong was driving through Faleula on Sunday, September 23, 2018 going past a school and churches where people were gathering, when the victim crossed the road and was hit. 

The seven-year-old girl was returning from Sunday school and crossed the road, the court heard, when the defendant’s vehicle hit her and carried her body 26 meters from the point of impact.

The impact created a dent on the front of the vehicle and it swirled off the road. The doctor’s report stated that the victim died on arrival in hospital from brain injuries.

The victim’s mother told the court yesterday that there was a traditional apology made by the family of the defendant, and they accepted the apology together with $50,000 cash, food and the funding of the victim’s funeral and grave.

Judge Alalatoa Rosella Papali’i, who is presiding over the matter, told the defendant that she will have to look at the case and come up with an appropriate sentence.

“I know there’s a lot of public interest in this matter only because she is the daughter of a Minister, but she is no different from any other person and that is what justice is.

“Whether she’s rich or poor or her father is the Prime Minister or a Minister or whatever, it doesn’t change the fact that she’s standing in there as a person in her own right, and justice spreads equally in everyone,” she said.

Addressing the court yesterday, the defendant said she did not know how fast she was driving and there were no vehicles on the road at the time, except for a car that stopped at a three-way intersection. 

“So that vehicle was stopping in that three corner coming from inland, and I was looking at that car to see where the vehicle was going, but when I looked back on the road the victim was running across the road and it was too late,” she said.

“I don’t know where the deceased was because I couldn’t see so by the time I looked back on the road, the victim was already running from the other side of the road.”

The Court heard that the defendant passed out after the incident, and woke up at a pastor’s house, where she was told that she fainted and the police took the victim to the hospital.

The matter has been adjourned to November 9 for sentencing. 

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