Friday, August 31, 2012

Rich man's justice

What sort of sentence do you get if you run someone over in a fit of road-rage, causing serious and lasting injury? Community service, if you're a banker. But even better, you get the judge weighing in on your side, minimising your offending, and haranguing the media for taking an interest in the case:

A district court judge has flayed the prosecution and the media as he gave prominent financier Guy Hallwright a non-custodial sentence after seriously wounding a man he ran down in a road rage incident.


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.


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."

To which the answer is "of course they would". But its highly unlikely that they'd have a judge so obviously taking their side - and undermining the New Zealand justice system in the process.

Sadly, my quick googling has been unable to find a similar case for an easy comparison. But there is one coming up: a Wellington man who deliberately ran over his girlfriend (causing far lesser injuries) will be sentenced in October. It will be interesting to see whether he gets a similar sentence - and whether the judge heaps similar praise upon him for his offending.