Two South Auckland brothers who committed separate crimes have been jailed within the space of a week.
Salofo Aiono, 37, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years at the Auckland High Court on Wednesday after murdering his best friend, murdering Kapelielu Motunuu, in 2009.
Salofo Aiono murdered Motunuu by punching him in the head until he fell to the ground, kicking him in the head and chest, and stamping on him so hard that blood ended up on the wall of the house and a nearby car.
Motunuu died in hospital early the next day.
The murder took place after Aiono and Motunuu were caught up in a love triangle with Aiono's wife, Tausilia Aiono.
On Friday, his younger brother, Fereti Aiono, 27, was jailed for two years and 10 months with a minimum non-parole period of a year and five months for ploughing into two young girls while driving drunk.
The mother of one of the girls told the Manukau District Court it was "like a knife in [her] heart" to see her eight-year-old daughter in hospital recovering from brain injuries after being hit by a drunk driver.
In April, Fereti pleaded guilty to four charges - two counts of driving with excess breath alcohol causing injury, one of driving while disqualified for a third time and one of failing to stop at an accident.
He had been disqualified from driving for the second time just one month before the accident.
Judge Charles Blackie sentenced Aiono to two years and ten months imprisonment, with a minimum non-parole period of a year and five months.
Fereti's car was confiscated by the court and he has been disqualified from driving indefinitely, but may apply to have his licence renewed if he can persuade a court he will be a safe driver.
On December 22 last year, Aiono drunk drove down Wordsworth Rd, Manurewa, at between 75kmh and 94kmh.
The speed limit is 50kmh.
Aiono swerved to avoid a van, and lost control of his car.
The car then crossed to the other side of the road and hit two girls - aged eight and 11 - who were walking along the footpath.
The girls were thrown over a fence.
Judge Blackie said Aiono's first reaction was to accelerate off the lawn of the property his car had landed in and flee the scene, but his car was too damaged to do so.
"You therefore got out of the car and ran off. Others who were in the vicinity apprehended you and brought you back to the scene. Meanwhile, both of the two girls, one aged eight and aged 11 both lay very seriously injured. One girl might be described as critically injured."
Eight-year-old Carmella was taken to hospital and spent ten days in a coma.
"She almost died," the judge told the court.
Her mother was present at court this morning.
Sobbing, she spoke of the devastating effects the accident has had on her family, describing her pain as a "knife in my heart".
"Carmella was in hospital for ten days and a doctor told us we could lose her and even if she did survive she might have brain damage."
She said the recovery was a long and drawn-out process, and they missed out on the happy family Christmas they had been planning.
"Carmella was constantly in pain, just like a baby again in diapers. Very embarrassing for her."
She said her daughter's school performance had fallen since the accident - last year she was able to read at a 10-year-old level and was a leader among her peers, while this year it had gone backwards and she is scared to do anything.
"Carmella has gone through so much pain and suffering and now to know she has lost the skills she had before the accident is very sad."
Fereti'ss wife Debra who was in court to support him also wept as she read an apology to the girls' family.
"There's no words to express how sorry and guilty I feel to the victims and their families. I have young ones also and I would feel exactly the same if this happened to them. There hasn't been a day I've stopped praying for the two girls and their families and also my husband."
She said what her husband had done was "unforgiveable", and he suffers from "guilt and shame" every day.
Debra Aiono said she couldn't change what happened, but wanted to pass on a message about drink driving to society.
"It's not worth it. Think about the consequences of your actions before you get behind the wheel of a car."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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