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.