Vaoala death accused referred to District Court

The driver of a flatbed truck that crashed at Vaoala last month killing a Avele College student has been referred to the District Court.

Rudolf Nauer is facing charges related to the death of a 14-year-old student who was sitting around the area after school when the incident occurred on 12 March.  

The accused appeared before the Supreme Court on Monday and was represented by lawyer Masoe Charlie Vaai.

Attorney General’s Office lawyer and prosecutor, Silupevaelei Rexona Titi told the court that the prosecution is withdrawing a vehicular manslaughter charge against the accused.

However, they will proceed with four other charges of negligence driving causing death, negligence driving causing injuries, driving an unregistered vehicle and being an unregistered driver.

“We also seek your Honour to have this matter transferred to the District Court,” she added.

Justice Fepulea'i Ameperosa Roma, who was presiding over the matter, granted the application to withdraw the vehicular manslaughter charge.

Furthermore, he ordered that the four remaining charges be transferred to the District Court for mention next week Tuesday.

Justice Roma also ordered the defendant to remain on the same bail conditions until his next court appearance. 

This is the first time the defendant has appeared in court since the incident and is yet to enter a plea to the charges.

The accused was driving a flatbed truck that was carrying an excavator heading to the town area from Tiavi. The truck allegedly crashed into a fence in the area, taking down an electric pole and killing 14-year-old student Tovio Leaupepe who died at the scene.

The teenager was waiting for his three other younger siblings who attend a nearby school in the area. 

The Avele College student is the fourth child of seven children to Olesa Pio and Kalala Kasali Leaupepe of Vaoala. He was laid to rest later that month. 

The defendant and another passenger who was in the truck at that time sustained injuries from the crash and were later discharged from the hospital. 

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