Car smash tourist has lucky break

Tuesday December 12, 2017 Written by Published in Local

A Polish tourist who was involved in a car crash in Nikao has left the country after being convicted of careless driving and escaping a civil case over the incident.

 

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

1 comment

  • Comment Link Throwastone Monday, 18 December 2017 15:33 posted by Throwastone

    The tourist did not escape. Firstly he did not commit any crime. It would have been illegal to keep tourists here based on a civil claim someone may have against him. Since the accident victims were released the same day, one was back to work, the other claimed may not be able to work for 2 weeks the claim is for what most people get here get for a year of work but this will be for the TOWER to decide as the car had a third part insurance so any claims would be paid out if this which is normal but the article says it as the tourist tried to avoid responsibility. Having insurance for this was very responsible and I think he paid a very high price. He was incredibly stressed, upset, lost the rest of his dream holidays and got very high fine even though his guilt was no bigger then other tourist who the same week had an accident and we fined less than 100. It was just unlucky he was in the car and the other passengers on the bike. As far as I know he made blood test, unlike other drivers whose test was dated 5 days later. He was very apologetic and sorry but his whole thought was a temporary luck of judgement or miscalculation. In the country where there is such a high percentage of drunk driving this guy was really incredibly unlucky. Thank God he was allowed to leave

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