An appalling judgement

The Herald reports:

An investment banker who ran over a man, breaking both his legs, was being a protective dad trying to keep his daughter safe, a court has heard.

Guy Hallwright, 60, has been sentenced to 250 hours of community work, banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay $20,000 reparations to the man he drove over.

The sentence per se is bad enough but what really aggravates me, but the comments by the Judge. On the sentence though consider this from another story:

“$20,000, that’s it?” his victim said yesterday.

Mr Kim still hobbles, two years after he was run over by Hallwright on Mt Eden Rd.

His lower legs are swollen, bruised and scarred and he winced as he slowly lowered himself to sit on the steps of the South Auckland warehouse he calls home.

He said the surgery on his legs – he would probably need six operations in total – would cost about $150,000.

And on the comments by

Judge Neave criticised media this morning for referring to the offence as a “hit and run”, saying Hallwright was driving “away” from the situation, which had escalated in seriousness by the actions of Mr Kim banging on the bonnet.

“What I know of your character … I consider it highly unlikely you would have driven at him,” Judge Neave said.

He said describing the incident as a hit and run was “irresponsible and inappropriate”.

Yes, just because you hit him, and ran away, is no reason to call it a hit and run. What is fucking irresponsible is running someone over and what is inappropriate is not stopping and calling medical assistance.

Judge Neave criticised elements of the publicity and, during this morning’s sentencing, suppressed aspects of Hallwright’s employment.

The suppressed information was a factor taken into account by Judge Neave who said Hallwright had been the subject of “a degree of prurient media interest that can only be described as vulgar in the extreme”.

Judge Neave said as a result of media reports on Hallwright, “less-considered members of the public” had responded to him and his employer in ways which were “as offensive as they were inappropriate”.

Judge Neave said Hallwright was a contributor to society with a “spotless reputation” and “impeccable character”.

Impeccable – apart from running someone over in your car and not stopping to call medical assistance. Spotless – so this doesn’t even qualify as a spot.

I hate this crap – you are “one of us”, a “contributor to society” so how dare you be criticized for running the angry Chinaman over. I couldn’t stop the jury finding you guilty, but I can tell the media off about how you really are the victim.

It is worse as reported by Stuff:

Judge Neave told the court that Hallwright was one of society’s contributors who had suffered humiliation because of the Crimes Act charge.

He criticised the crown saying the charge, which a jury found proven, should have been laid under the weaker Land Transport Act.

Hallwright had suffered severe humiliation “well in excess of that required by the gravity of the offence”, the judge said.

Good God. I thought victim impact statements were for the victim, not for the criminal. Poor diddums – he got humiliated because he ran someone over and left the scene without calling medical assistance.

The judge condemned media for their “unhealthy degree of glee of the misfortunate of someone who might be in a more fortunate position….

“Indeed I have wondered at some length whether or not if this had been an encounter between two teenage boys on the backstreets of Manukau whether we would be here today.”

Yeah, because no one cares if black boys run over black boys. As Whale said, if it had happened in Manukau, then Mr Hallwright would probably have a lot more than $20,000 to worry about.

Kim had claimed to be in front of the car when he was hit, but Judge Neave said given Hallwright’s character he did consider it highly unlikely.

What a pity, that annoying jury disagreed.

This is a good reminder why we have jury trials. The jury system has its flaws, but this case doesn’t do a lot to bolster the respect for the judiciary.

I often have criticised sentences, but normally am very careful not to criticise the Judge themselves. They are doing a tough job. But when a Judge makes comments like this, then I make a rare exception and will criticise the Judge. His comments were appalling.

Under the government’s three strikes law, Judge Neave said he was required to warn Hallwright this was the first of his three strikes.

Excellent.

 

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