Driver convicted of negligent driving causing death

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Vaiusu Ene of Vaipu’a has been found guilty of negligent driving causing death in relation to a traffic incident in November last year at Salailua Savaii.

The decision was handed down by Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala Warren this morning.

According to her judgement and sentencing, Ene was driving towards the west, and a bus which was heading east stopped to let the victim out to drop some shopping off in Salailua. As the accused’s car passed the bus, the victim crossed the road behind the bus and was hit by the car of the accused and died at the scene.  

The prosecution called five witnesses.

Justice Tafaoimalo pointed out Ene’s cautioned statement indicating he was travelling at 60 km when the accident occurred. 

“By his own admission, the accused was speeding. Being the holder of a driver’s licence, he is aware of the Samoa National Road Code issued by the Land Transport Authority. Rule 2.19 states that when passing any stationary vehicle, the speed limit is 24kph or 15 mph.” 

Defence has submitted that this was an unavoidable accident, however, Justice Tafaoimalo did not agree.

“Had the accused driven in a manner expected of an ordinarily prudent driver given the condition of the day and whilst passing a bus with disembarking passengers, this tragedy could have been avoided. That manner expected of an ordinarily prudent driver would have been to slow down to 24 kmp or thereabouts and sound his horn as he had seen a disembarking passenger holding shopping.

“On the whole, I am satisfied that the accused departed from the standard of care expected of an ordinarily prudent driver in the circumstances.

“He was speeding past a stationary bus after he admits seeing someone get off the bus with shopping, he did not sound his horn and it was a rainy or drizzly day. The condition of the day would have alerted an ordinarily prudent driver to slow down.”

Justice Tafaoimal further pointed out that the result of the accused’s negligence led to his death. 

“I find it has been proved by the Prosecution beyond reasonable doubt that the accused drove in a negligent manner which caused the death of the deceased. The accused is guilty of the charge against him.

A pre-sentence report is ordered and he is remanded on bail to appear before me on 18 October 2022 for sentencing.”