Teenager sentenced to four years for manslaughter

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

15-year-old teenager, Ngatai Reweti was sentenced and jailed today at Auckland's High Court for four years after killing Christopher Currie by throwing an eight kilogram chunk of concrete at Auckland's Southern Motorway.

Currie, from Taupo, was driving along the Auckland Southern Motorway with his friends when the concrete smashed through his windscreen from the Princes Street, Otahuhu over-bridge, killing Currie instantly.

Reweti was originally convicted of the murder of Currie on August 19, 2005 but in July, 2006 a jury overturned this conviction and instead of murder charged him with manslaughter.

Justice Winkelmann, during the sentencing, said: "Reweti's actions were serious and of breathtaking stupidity worthy of condemnation." She said it was a mindless act that killed Mr Currie and irreparably damaged the lives of others.

Winkelmann has suggested that he should serve his sentence at a youth justice residence and said that it was not premeditated unlike what the crown said.

Currie's family are outraged at the sentence. "We feel let down by the justice system. I feel the judge has disrespected us as good people and good people all over New Zealand," said Wayne Currie, father of Christopher Currie.

Reweti's family had said that Ngatai was gentle and loving but the deputy principal from his school said that he was often absent and very challenging. Reweti had taken full responsibility for the killing even though he had been smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol the day before Currie died.

Aaron Perkins, crown prosecutor, said: "The sentence should deter others from committing such acts and people should be able to travel on the roads without the fear of a missile being thrown and the consequences of that."