An Auckland man high on drugs who crashed into a motorcycle-riding foreign diplomat unleashed a verbal attack at his lawyer and the judge who sentenced him today.
Juan Carlos Cadena Silva, the former consul general at the Colombian Consulate in Auckland, was seriously injured after being thrown from his Harley-Davidson on to Tamaki Drive in last January’s rush hour smash.
He broke his right ankle, left wrist and suffered fractures to his pelvis in the crash, and required surgery at Auckland City Hospital.
Police later charged Aaed Abu Laila, 27, with operating a vehicle carelessly and causing injury after crossing the centre line on January 20, 2017.
He was further charged with driving after using a controlled drug when his blood reading showed traces of methamphetamine and cannabis use.
Laila’s excuse for the Tamaki Drive crash, a bemused Judge Eddie Paul explained to the Auckland District Court, was that he believed his vehicle was being tampered with and was in pursuit of the culprits.
Today, Laila was convicted and sentenced by Judge Paul to 120 hours’ community work, nine months’ supervision, disqualified from driving for nine months and ordered to pay Cadena Silva $1000 in emotional harm reparation.
As the sentencing hearing concluded a visibly agitated Laila, who had earlier been tearful, began cursing at Judge Paul and his lawyer Nadine Baier.
“He’s demonstrating behaviour which concerns me,” Judge Paul said.
Laila also has a dangerous driving conviction from 2008.
Speaking to the Herald from his hospital bed after the crash, Cadena Silva said he could barely recall the incident near Kelly Tarlton’s aquarium.
“The only thing I remember is seeing this car crash into the car in front of me… and then I woke up and had a couple of people asking me questions,” he said.
“I don’t know if I was able to brake or what? So I guess I didn’t.”
NZME group entertainment director Dean Buchanan was also injured in the crash, which occurred about 5.15pm.
Buchanan’s car was hit first by Laila’s silver Toyota and the media man suffered bruising and cuts to his right arm and shoulder.
Cadena Silva’s motorcycle then careened into the side of Buchanan’s car, sending the diplomat flying through the air.
“[I don’t know] how he wasn’t killed,” Buchanan said after the crash.
The Colombian was travelling to St Heliers to meet his wife and two children for ice cream.
Despite riding motorcycles for 30 years Cadena Silva was now wary of getting back on the bike, the court was told.
He endured 20 physiotherapy sessions and was told last June he may not fully recover from his injuries.
Cadena Silva ended his diplomatic post in September last year and returned to Colombia, after arriving in New Zealand in April 2013.
“Sadly this is not the summer I would like to have as my last summer in New Zealand,” he said during his recovery.
Vice-Consul General Pablo Antonio Rebolledo Schloss said Lennin Hernandez Alarcon filled the position at the start of this year.