76yo mother’s death: jail term for disabled driver whose fake license issued ‘over the counter through his mother’

Na'e tila'i e laiseni faka'uli 'a e tangata faingata'a'ia fakaesino (disabled) ko 'eni ko Siolosi Hu'akau ta'u 21 'o ma'u ta'efakalao ka ne iku tamate'i ai 'e ia 'a e fa'ee' ta'u 76 ko Sitela Fungavaka 'o Holonga' tu'unga he ta'e 'ilo 'e Hu'akau e lao 'o e hala pule'anga'. Kuo tauteai ai ia ke ne ngaue popula ta'u 'e tolu kae toloi malu'i angalelei e mahina 'e 12 faka'osi 'i ha ngaahi makatu'unga.

A disabled driver who killed a 76-year-old mother in Tongatapu admitted he did not know about the traffic rules because he did not sit any driving tests before his license was given to him.

Sitela Fungavaka. Photo/Supplied

It appears the licensing officers had been bribed to fake his tests before the driver’s mother picked up his license over the counter.

Siolosi Hu’akau, 21, pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving causing death and one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

He was convicted of dangerous driving causing death and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

For dangerous driving causing bodily harm, he has been sentenced to one year imprisonment, to be served concurrently with his sentence on causing death count.

The final 12 months of the head sentence is to be suspended on conditions for a period of two years from the date of his release from prison.

A court document said the prisoner “was speeding and driving in a manner dangerous to the public.

“He admitted to Police that he was not aware of the speed limits because he
did not obtain his driver’s licence validly – it was given to him over the
counter through his mother”.

The tragedy 

The court was told that on Sunday, 25 October 2020, ‘Arnone Fungavaka was driving with his wife, Stella Fungavaka, to Kolonga to visit their son.

As they approached a sharp turn towards Navutoka, a red vehicle was also approaching the turn from the opposite direction. It was being driven by Hu’akau.

There were two other passengers in his vehicle. As he approached the turn, he lost control of his vehicle, swerved onto the right lane and collided head on with the Fungavakas’ vehicle.

Stella sustained multiple fractures, including a collapsed lung. As a result of her injuries, she was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

The prisoner

The prisoner was born with a medical condition affecting his lower limbs rendering him unable to stand for long periods of time.

He was physically and emotionally dependent on his mother and is attached to her.

Hu’akau was unable to read or write, having only completed class 1 at school. He is described as having the mind of a child .

No medical evidence was provided during his trial. His disability caused him great pain throughout his childhood. He did not have a normal teenager’s life.

Notwithstanding, his local parish priest and town officer reported that the prisoner was happily involved in church youth activities and is treated by his peers with understanding, as a child, in order to make him feel comfortable

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