A good Coroner’s recommendation

February 20th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee has backed a ’s call to make prisoners serve their driving bans after they are freed, not while they are still in jail.

Coroner Garry Evans’ recommendation is contained in his report into the death of a young woman in a car crash caused by a paroled criminal who was on a witness protection programme at the time.

Debbie Ashton, 20, died when repeat driving offender Jonathan Barclay, a former P addict, smashed into her car while speeding and drunk, near Nelson in December 2006.

Barclay has twice served out driving bans while in prison for more serious offending. Both times he has gone on to crash into other people.

Seems like a no brainer to me.

In a statement last night, Mr Brownlee said he had asked officials from the justice and transport ministries to look into the recommendation. Any change would require an amendment to legislation, which meant it would have to be put before Parliament.

Will the Greens oppose it as they could argue it punishes the criminal twice?

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14 Responses to “A good Coroner’s recommendation”

  1. tvb (4,554 comments) says:

    This makes sense though the period of disqualification could be delayed. Indefinite disqualification would apply post release. This will have a marginal effect on road safety.

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  2. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    Will the Greens oppose it as they could argue it punishes the criminal twice?

    I hope not. That would be moronic. As long as it’s not retrospective, there’s nothing concerning with respect to the rule of law with this proposal.

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  3. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    Debbie Ashton, 20, died when repeat driving offender Jonathan Barclay, a former P addict, smashed into her car while speeding and drunk, near Nelson in December 2006.

    Whaaat?

    A repeat offender.
    A former P addict.
    Speeding.
    Drunk.
    Collides with another car.
    Kills an innocent 20 year old.

    This moron should never drive again.

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  4. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @Graeme Edgeler 9:13 am

    Agreed, Graeme. It has always seemed a bit strange to me that a disqualification period runs while a person is imprisoned, given that they are not going to be driving anyway while in prison.

    Although I suspect repeat offenders like Barclay are likely to drive while disqualified anyway, so doubt that commencing the disqualification period from their prison release will make much difference. What may make a difference is more effective drug and alcohol rehabilitation while they are in prison.

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  5. David Garrett (7,700 comments) says:

    If the Greens support this, it will be the FIRST time they have ever supported any measure which could even remotely arguably be punitive. So unless Toadie is in fact Meteria in disguise, dont bank on them supporting it.

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  6. Stuart (41 comments) says:

    I always assumed the time started once released, it just seemed too illogical to ban someone from driving when they couldn’t.

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  7. redeye (633 comments) says:

    Elaycee, Barlcay was on a witness protection program when he killed this young girl.

    Jonathon Barclay, now 31, killed Debbie Ashton, 20, in a crash near Hope in December 2006. Just a month earlier, he could have been jailed for a repeat driving offence, but was treated as a first-time offender because the court did not know he was using a new identity.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/7523711/Horror-as-killer-driver-in-another-crash

    Disgusting debacle all around if you ask me.

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  8. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    @redeye: Thanks for the link. Agree – that’s bloody terrible.

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  9. backster (2,196 comments) says:

    The situation is nonsensical, but no more so than the virtual habitual imposition of concurrent sentences imposed for serious crimes committed by serial offenders.

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  10. peterwn (3,333 comments) says:

    Here is another one – Does an over 65 year old prisoner receive superannuation and if so is board and lodgings deducted? i tries to find the answer to this a while back without success.

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  11. Akaroa (613 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler at 0913 posted “I hope not. That would be moronic” in reply to the query: ” Will the Greens oppose it as they could argue it punishes the criminal twice?”

    To comment, I’d merely observe that it may well be moronic, but this is the Greens we’re talking about here, don’t forget!!

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  12. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    Here is another one – Does an over 65 year old prisoner receive superannuation and if so is board and lodgings deducted?

    They do not receive super while in prison.

    All benefits are stopped when you enter a prison. Even if you are simply on remand and are in fact innocent, and this causes you to lose your house.

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  13. jedmo (33 comments) says:

    This change will help to uphold respect for the law. I couldn’t believe it either when I learnt that the current law lets the person serve out their disqualification time, while they’re in prison and unable to drive anyway. A bit like Churchill when he discovered Singapore’s defenses were wide open to the northward – too unbelievable, to have entered concsiousness as a possibility.

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  14. Joseph Carpenter (214 comments) says:

    Mr Edgeler is wrong. Only benefits under the Social Security Act are stopped, Superannuation is now under a separate act and doesn’t stop and is not classed as a benefit.

    And as for the normal social welfare benefits here we have 58% of convicted prisoners still receiving these benefits while serving in gaol (note: it excludes super):
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10009992
    And that’s only what the Govt knew of.

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