Rafael Maziarz was fined $2000 plus costs at Avarua High Court last week but avoided a costly claim for damages after paying an additional $2000 to cover the insurance excess on the hire car he was driving.
The crash took place at around 6.30pm on November 22 outside the Esther Honey animal clinic in Nikao.
Maziarz failed to spot an oncoming motorbike carrying two people as he made a turn into the surgery. The bike was struck by the car and both riders were left with injuries that required ambulance and medical assistance.
Although he pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and showed remorse during an appearance in court last month the case could not be completed until the police investigation and medical reports had been finalised. That meant Maziarz was required to surrender his passport and remain in the Cook Islands, forcing him to cancel plans to visit Tahiti and Easter Island.
Last week, more than three weeks after the incident, Maziarz, represented by Wilkie Rasmussen, appeared again in court for sentencing and was fined $2000 and ordered to pay $50 court costs, $190 medical costs to the victims and a $200 insurance excess for damage to the bike.
The court also heard an application for a writ of arrest and a claim for damages of close to $28,000 for the injuries and inconvenience caused.
However, Rasmussen argued that because he had paid a $2000 insurance excess to hire company Avis, Maziarz was not liable for those damages.
After checks with Tower Insurance it was established that the tourist was covered and the application against him was adjourned sine die.
His passport was released and Rasmussen said his “grateful” client flew to Los Angeles on Friday night and is now in Chicago.
- Jonathan Harwood