Tongan pastor must pay $500 as emotional harm reparations to the victim of his road rage.

A Tongan pastor who smashed a truck window with a tyre iron before driving into his helpless victim as he tried to call police has been sentenced to 100 hours’ community work, an emotional harm payment of $500, and reparation for the window of $518.

According to a Fairfax Media report the Christchurch District Court was told it was a case of road rage that went “horribly wrong” when Sione Toutaiolepo was sentenced on charges of assault using a car as a weapon, and wilful damage.

Toutaiolepo, a 46-year-old pastor in the Tongan Church, said he followed a truck that he thought had cut him off in the incident that took place at the Riccarton Rd-Straven Rd intersection on January 14.

He armed himself with a tyre iron and shattered his victim’s driver side window.

The victim got out of the truck and said he was calling the police, so Toutaiolepo drove slowly at him causing him to fall backwards.

When the victim stood up Toutaiolepo drove at him again, and drove forward with the man clinging to the van until he fell off in the middle of the road. He suffered cuts and grazes. Toutaiolepo drove off.

Sam Johnson, the founder of the Student Volunteer Army in Christchurch, came across the altercation and filmed it on his cellphone.

Defence counsel Paul Johnson said Toutaiolepo’s road rage went horribly wrong, but he had no previous convictions. His probation report recommended a fine and reparation.

Judge Paul Kellar said Toutaiolepo told the probation officer that he took the tyre iron with him for his own protection.

He said Toutaiolepo had references that said he was an upstanding mild-mannered man, and was involved in the Tongan community.

Toutaiolepo had pleaded guilty to both charges.

Main points:

  • A Tongan pastor attacked a truck with a tyre iron in New Zealand
  • He then drove his white van over his victim who was calling police
  • A court heard how the attack was a case of ‘road rage gone wrong’
  • The pastor pleaded guilty to two charges related to the attack

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