Brian Tamaki’s vehicle had completely crossed the centre line before a crash which sent a woman to hospital and saw him face court charges.
Tamaki has pleaded guilty to careless driving causing injury after what his lawyer called “a moment’s inattention”, and must pay $500 each to the couple from the other vehicle.
The 64-year-old leader of Destiny Church was represented by Shannon Eldridge in the Rotorua District Court on Thursday morning.
His attendance in court was excused by Community Registrar Sherida Cooper as the charge was a category one offence, meaning he did not have to appear in person.
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The charge relates to a crash on Hamurana Rd in Rotorua on May 6. A woman was taken to Rotorua Hospital after the crash.
The careless driving charge carries a maximum $3000 fine.
On the day of the crash, Tamaki was driving east along Hamurana Rd, near the turn-off to State Highway 33, in a Foton SUV about 5pm, according to the police summary of facts.
An elderly couple were travelling west when their car was struck by Tamaki’s vehicle, which had completely crossed the centre line.
The summary states Tamaki’s vehicle was in the opposite lane, directly in the path of the oncoming vehicle.
The elderly man driving the car tried to swerve out of the way, but was unsuccessful, and both vehicles’ passenger sides collided at speed, the summary states.
Both vehicles spun around and came to a stop, leaving them with extensive damage.
“Mr Tamaki does take full responsibility for the accident. It was the result of a moment’s inattention,” Eldridge said on his behalf.
He said Tamaki’s insurers were paying $7500 to the victims for the loss of their vehicle and Tamaki would pay the shortfall of $500 as the victims had their vehicle valued at $8000.
Eldridge presented Cooper with a letter from Tamaki expressing his remorse for the accident. The letter was not read to the court.
He also said Tamaki’s insurers were negotiating payment for a gate which was damaged in the accident.
Eldridge argued against having Tamaki disqualified from driving and said it was a “mere moment of inattention” that led to the accident, and it was “truly unfortunate that an accident occurred in those circumstances”.
According to court records Tamaki has 55 demerit points against his driving licence, however Cooper said Tamaki had no relevant past convictions and used her discretion in not adding any further demerit points or disqualifying him from driving.
Cooper accepted his guilty plea and ordered Tamaki to pay $500 each to the victims for emotional harm, $500 for the vehicle valuation shortfall, a $500 fine and courts costs of $130.
Attempts to contact Tamaki have been unsuccessful.
Tamaki spent nine days in prison in January for an alleged bail breach by attending a Christchurch protest that contravened his bail conditions.
He was also front and centre at a recent Freedom and Rights Coalition protest at the Auckland Domain last weekend.
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