Should he have kept his license?

August 28th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Hamilton man has kept his licence after being sentenced for speeding – driving his Mazda RX7 at 181kmh – with his two siblings in the passenger seats.

Greg Mario Prendergast, 27, was caught by police exceeding the 80kmh speed limit by 101kmh on Avalon Drive on December 18, last year.

He was sentenced on a charge of operating a vehicle in an unnecessary exhibition of speed or acceleration after earlier pleading guilty in the Hamilton District Court yesterday.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Steven Bell said aggravating the situation was the fact his two siblings – a brother aged 25 and a sister aged 15 – were in the car with him.

He urged Judge Rosemary Riddell to issue a disqualification from driving.

“We can’t condone those speeds … he’s the second person to be caught out there doing those speeds.”

He also had other driving convictions, including drink-driving, sustained loss of traction and driving while disqualified.

My first reaction was outrage that he has kept his licence, despite driving 101 km over the limit was a 15 year old in the car. His previous convictions make it worse.

However, Prendergast’s counsel Gina Jenkins successfully argued for him to be able to keep his licence.

Jenkins said her client had successfully completed the Right Track Programme, which gives driving offenders the chance to see the consequences of their actions, and needed his for work.

If he couldn’t keep his licence, he would also lose his job, she said.

Prendergast didn’t qualify for a limited licence.

Jenkins said disqualification from driving would also affect his family as Prendergast was the sole bread winner for his wife and three children. He had also sold the RX7.

Judge Riddell said she felt the police had focused purely on Prendergast’s actions at the time and not the work he had done since.

Judge Riddell was also impressed at his speech upon graduating the Right Track course in which he said prior to this incident he’d never thought about the possibility of crashing, and “the clearer the road, the faster I would go”.

“It’s clear from your speech that it has been brought home to you of just what speed can do,” Judge Riddell said.

It’s a line call, but I can see why they didn’t want him losing his job. I hope he takes the chance the Judge has given him. My view is that he gets caught doing dangerous driving again, then he should face losing his liberty, not just his license.

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28 Responses to “Should he have kept his license?”

  1. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “Prendergast was the sole bread winner for his wife and three children”

    bet ya im a breadwinner for his family too…

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  2. brucehoult (195 comments) says:

    Loss of license would be a ridiculous penalty for something where no one was hurt. Jail would be totally ludicrous.

    180 km/h is not that quick or dangerous in something built for that speed and more, such as an RX7. If it was a straight road with no one else around I really don’t have a problem with it.

    In heavy traffic that would be a different matter.

    Assuming the passengers were willing participants and not kidnapped they should be entitled to choose their own level of risk, just as we still allow people to climb mountains or jump out of aeroplanes.

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  3. Chris2 (766 comments) says:

    If he has sold the RX7, I would like to know what type of vehicle he replaced it with.

    That would indicate whether he really is serious, or just gaming the Judge.

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  4. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    1) Licence should be restricted to working hours. Therefore becomes invalid after 6pm until 6am
    2) Licence should have learner level endorsements: no passengers, zero alcohol
    3) After a penalty period like this, the licence should be changed officially to learner level, and he has to progress through the stages again in orer to qualify for a full licence

    Actions. Consequences.

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  5. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    Well the Nazi’s have been hiding round town with their radars doing their best to catch people on their way to work going more than 4 kph over the limits.
    Best to catch them cause they earn enough to pay the fines.
    Not as hard as catching burglars either.

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  6. eszett (2,408 comments) says:

    Well if he doesn’t lose his license at the speed because he would be unable to work, than at least there should be some serious restrictions on it. Such as a power / engine size limit on his vehicle.

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  7. alloytoo (543 comments) says:

    Let he who has never tried to hit 200 cast the first stone. (though I’m uncertain as to the appropriateness of the road and time.)

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  8. kowtow (8,487 comments) says:

    “……they should be entitled to choose their own level of risk, just as we still allow people to climb mountains or jump out of aeroplanes.”

    Agreed ,and ACC shouldn’t cover it. These clowns should get insurance,the rest of us shouldn’t have to pay for idiots.

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  9. David Garrett (7,286 comments) says:

    The police had not focused “…on the work he has done since.”

    Words fail me. Where’s Red when you need him?

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  10. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    eszett

    A couple of years ago I went for a dive in Evans Bay. There is a ski access lane going out from the right hand side. Boating rules say that speed must be below 5 knots within 200m of shore.

    I dived over the left hand side, several hundred metres from the lane, and within 200m of shore. Boats buzzed overhead constantly. I ended up hugging the bottom until I got back within 10m of shore.

    I called maritime police and video’s on my (then crappy) phone ski boats running at speed along the shoreline. They came along and observed for awhile, and then came in to talk to me.

    They said they wanted to take “an educational approach” to the matter. Bearing in mind that you’d have to do at least 20 knots to be able to ski I asked the cop what would happen if a car driver travelled 4 times over the speed limit – any speed limit.

    Didn’t really care…

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  11. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    I am astonished this guy didn’t lose his license… but I don’t think these headline-grabbing ultra speeders are the only thing we should be worried about on the roads. Or even the MAIN thing we should be worried about.

    I had a car written off once, (and I had a sore neck for weeks afterwards) when a young Mum driving her two little boys home from school in a beige CR-V, went into the back of me at 100km/h and half crushed my car, while I was going about 50km/h in a motorway tailback.

    So TBH, I am actually more worried about dopey useless ordinary people, than I am about speed freaks.

    The FEW times I have been passed by someone going at mega speed, they have ALWAYS been driving very good cars, on very fast wide roads. I don’t condone it, but my exposure to the danger has always seemed very brief.

    Whereas there are many, MANY more licensed, LEGAL, bewildered and semi-competent drivers tootling around our highways in nanaboxes at 74km/h right now, who are just as much of a menace to public life and limb as this guy was, if not more so.

    The kind of people who toddle along at 74km/h are the kind of people who look straight at you, and wait until you are so close you can see the whites of their eyes… and THEN pull out of the side road in front of you anyway.
    They are the people who wander near or across the centreline every few seconds because keeping a modern car within a lane at 74km/h is just too hard.
    They are the people who see your brake lights go on, think to themselves “that’s interesting!” and then drive up your rear end.
    They are the people who can’t see a problem in continuing to go 74km/h even when the road turns to blind corners that would not be safe above about 45.

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  12. Redbaiter (8,916 comments) says:

    Those people RRM are not the target of a govt sponsored propaganda campaign designed to shape the thinking of the citizenry, therefore they’re above the radar for most victims of this outrageous abuse by government.

    Govt should just make laws, not shape the way people think using propaganda campaigns. Its a step too far.

    Nazis did that.

    Stalin did that.

    Mao did that.

    Pol Pot did that.

    Mussolini did that.

    Now, the Progressives in the West are doing it.

    We don’t fucking need it in a free western society.

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  13. David Garrett (7,286 comments) says:

    Crikey Red! When I called for your comment I didn’t realise you had been at the Mount RSA since opening time!

    Ladies could be reading that expletive filled diatribe!

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  14. backster (2,172 comments) says:

    Did Judge Rosie Riddell also say “By not disqualifying you I am accepting responsibility should you subsequently re-offend in a similar manner and kill or maim another.”
    or “Nah couldn’t care less.”

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  15. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    @RRM, brilliant. I liked Clarkson’s story of following one for miles unable to pass when they came to a village and it kept going at 74km/h and got a speed camera ticket!

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  16. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    180 km/h is not that quick or dangerous in something built for that speed and more, such as an RX7. If it was a straight road with no one else around I really don’t have a problem with it.

    That’s not the problem, it’s the things you don’t see when you’re doing those speeds and the additional time it takes to stop when you do see them. There’s plenty of places to do those speeds safely in NZ but’s not public roads. They’re a shared resource so there’s some shared rules for a reason.

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  17. Ashley Schaeffer (487 comments) says:

    Yes, he should have lost his licence.

    Loss of license would be a ridiculous penalty for something where no one was hurt. Jail would be totally ludicrous.

    So we wait until he kills somebody before taking his licence off him? He has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has no respect for road rules and other road users.

    Assuming the passengers were willing participants and not kidnapped they should be entitled to choose their own level of risk, just as we still allow people to climb mountains or jump out of aeroplanes.

    A fifteen year-old doesn’t have the maturity to make that assessment.

    Let he who has never tried to hit 200 cast the first stone. (though I’m uncertain as to the appropriateness of the road and time.)

    I have driven at that speed when I was young and stupid. That doesn’t disqualify me from saying throw the book at the clown. I drove at that speed fully expecting to lose my licence if I got caught.

    Judge Riddell said she felt the police had focused purely on Prendergast’s actions at the time and not the work he had done since.

    Words fail me too DG. Call me cynical, but I feel like this guy has just ticked all the boxes he could to avoid a harsher sentence and isn’t genuine about learning his lesson. I suspect the Police feel this way as well. Time will tell of course, but I hope some innocent person doesn’t pay for a Judge’s mistake with their life.

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  18. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Individuals’ reaction times vary by at least a factor of two even when they are concentrating. That shows how utterly absurd are the nonsense adverts claiming significant differences in safety from reducing speeds by 5 km/h.

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  19. David Garrett (7,286 comments) says:

    Ashley: there is an awful lot of “box ticking” in our courts and prisons these days…Say all the right things, do all the “courses”..and best of all have a kaumatua lead a waiata for you in court… Ropata’s your Uncle!

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  20. Redbaiter (8,916 comments) says:

    Actually, whereas this judges findings were ludicrous, we have road laws all wrong.

    Nobody should be prosecuted for exceeding some arbitrary limit.

    People should only be convicted of crime if they do wrong to some other party.

    If someone has an accident and damages someone’s property or injures someone they should have to face court and suffer the consequences.

    Any diversion from this process is an abuse of process.

    Same goes for drink driving.

    The thousands of offences recorded in the courts show quite clearly that the present system isn’t working.

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  21. Sarkozygroupie (207 comments) says:

    allytoo

    I tried to hit 200 but that was in Italy on the autostrada so it’s acceptable behaviour there! The Italians were flashing their lights at me because I was only doing 180 (or so I thought) and then I ran out of room to complete the double tonne as I had to turn off onto a B road to the Amalfi Coast.

    I was in the left/slow lane, being very deferential to the natives, until I realised I was actually in the fast lane and in their way. Hence all the flashing of lights!!! Their lanes are back to front from ours. Never make that mistake again. Bloody tourists. :)

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  22. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    So Mr baiter. I can fire my trusty suprpress 300 win magnum at you and as long as I miss you no harm is done? . Excellent

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  23. Redbaiter (8,916 comments) says:

    If you fire a rifle at me idiot you better make sure you don’t miss.

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  24. Ben2001 (26 comments) says:

    Let’s hope next time he kills himself and not an innocent party.

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  25. Sublime (295 comments) says:

    Going that fast in that sort of environment in an RX7 … a quick and easy way for a breadwinner to turn into a grave-filler. They go like a cut cat and weight two-fifths of stuff all. Multiple/certain fatalities if something went wrong.

    Not sure about licence loss. Perhaps one of those severely restricted ones (where you can drive to work and that) but is still an exercised form of punishment. Frankly, if you’re driving an RX7 like that I wonder how much your kids and wife really mean to you. Dicing with death.

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  26. Mr_Blobby (173 comments) says:

    He’s not related to the Maori king thing is he.

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  27. adc (595 comments) says:

    I’m with redbaiter on this issue. This whole “risk” based approach is not based on any laws of physics. It basically comes down to “I’m worried about what MIGHT happen, so I’m going to punish you pre-emptively even if nothing happens”.

    Same reasoning saw the invasion of Iraq.

    It gets justified on the basis of increased “risk”, aka statistics. Plenty of drivers I know I would rather step out in front of them doing 180 and drunk, than some nimwits you see on the road doing 100 and sober.

    It’s like minority report.

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  28. Left Right and Centre (2,979 comments) says:

    Why can’t a lot of New Zealanders spell the word ‘licence’ ?

    This dipshit has all kinds of driving related convictions. Chances are – he’s not going to magically turnaround after this one either. He’ll be back. Next dumb stunt – too bad about the job – fuck him. And crush the RX7. Before he does.

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