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Chinese driver appeals prison sentence

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/08/2016

A Chinese driver who caused a crash that killed a motorcyclist has had a prison sentence overturned on appeal.

Jieling Xiao, 27, was jailed for 17 months in June after earlier pleading guilty in a district court to dangerous during causing the death of Tauranga motorcyclist Rhys Middleton, 23, in February.

She was in New Zealand for a year on a working visa and held a full Chinese drivers licence, which entitled her to drive in New Zealand when the accident happened. She had never driven a vehicle on an open road in a rural environment at speeds in excess of 50km/h.

In a decision released on Friday, Justice Jillian Mallon of the High Court granted her appeal. The original sentence is quashed and replaced by one of nine months' of home detention and 150 hours of community work.

Xiao's lawyer argued the cause of the accident was inexperience and home detention should have been imposed.

She had no previous convictions, co-operated with police and send a letter of apology to the Middleton family.

Justice Mallon said it was a case of inexperience and a lack of awareness of the dangers arising from that inexperience.

Imprisonment was not necessary for accountability, denunciation and deterrence, she said.

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