Ritchies Transport to pay more than $900,000 for fatal Gisborne crash

Bus company Ritchies Transport has been ordered to pay more than $900,000 for a fatal crash near Gisborne on Christmas Eve in 2016.

Sione Taumalolo, 11, Talita Moimoi Fifita, 33, and Leotisia Malakai, 55, died due to injuries sustained in the incident, where a bus ploughed through a barrier and went down a bank. A further 27 people were injured.

It was carrying teachers and students from the Tongan Mailefihi Siulikutapu College brass band team at the time of the incident.

WorkSafe charged Ritchies under provisions the Health and Safety at Work Act for not putting people at risk of serious injury or death after the accident.

It pleaded guilty to the charges in April.

On Friday the company was ordered to pay a $210,000 fine for the crash, as well ordered to pay reparations of $750,000.

The fine's amount was reduced from $400,000 due to an early guilty plea and credit for assisting the WorkSafe investigation.

Bus driver Talakai Aholelei was sentenced to five-and-a-half months home detention on January 24, 2018, for causing the deaths of three people and injuring more than 20 others.

He was disqualified from driving for two years and ordered to pay $36,000 reparation.


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