New Year's Day killer pleads for lesser jail time
AN IPSWICH teenager who was jailed for killing his two cousins in a New Year's Day crash has appealed his seven-year sentence, claiming it was excessive.
Rikihana Kimiora Patara Nikora, 19, pleaded guilty in the Ipswich District Court in January to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death while adversely affected by alcohol.
The court heard that during the early hours of January, 1, 2013, Nikora was driving his Subaru Impreza along Glebe Rd, Booval, at speeds of up to 125kmh when he lost control of the vehicle.
The vehicle subsequently careered onto the footpath where it rolled and slid through two yards before striking a tree and a house.
Nikora's two cousins, aged 17 and 28, who were in the car with him at the time, were thrown from the vehicle and killed.
The court heard Nikora blew a blood alcohol reading of 0.171 at the scene.
Defence barrister Tim Ryan told the Queensland Court of Appeal yesterday there were issues with the comparable cases the trial judge had been given and relied on when sentencing Nikora.
He said there was a discrepancy between the maximum sentence in the two comparable cases the judge relied on to form an opinion on what penalty to impose and the actual maximum penalty for this offence.
"There is good reason to think the misinformation given led his honour to impose a higher sentence," he said.
"Given the reliance placed on them by the prosecution, it could have weighed heavily on his honour's mind."
Mr Ryan did not shy away from the serious nature of the crime but said, if the trial judge was given the correct information in the first place, he may have formed a different opinion - especially when taking into account Nikora's age.
"In looking at the offence, it was extremely serious," he said.
"One aspect we submit that was in my client's favour was his young age and the prospects of rehabilitation."
Nikora will be eligible to apply for parole in May 2016. The Court of Appeal reserved its decision.