Thursday, March 24, 2016

What happens when an MP runs over a protester?

What happens when an MP runs over a protester? We're about to find out:

Former policeman and National MP Chester Borrows will be questioned by police following claims he drove into a protester.

The incident happened in Whanganui on Tuesday when Mr Borrows and Senior Minister Paula Bennett were confronted by a TPP demonstration.

The police say one protester received a leg injury after allegedly coming into contact with a vehicle.

Mr Burrows has confirmed to One News he was driving the car that was confronted by protesters, but was not aware of anyone getting hurt.

Borrows could be facing serious charges. A person who
drives or causes a motor vehicle to be driven at a speed or in a manner which, having regard to all the circumstances, is or might be dangerous to the public or to a person and by that act or omission causes an injury to another person

faces up to 5 years in prison. Ditto for failing to stop after an accident which injured someone "without reasonable excuse" ("not knowing someone was injured" may be reasonable, depending on the credibility of the claim). Being convicted of either would see Borrows evicted from Parliament. Being convicted of the lesser offence of careless driving causing injury would merely see him facing a fine and up to 3 months in prison.

But we all know how this will go: the police will "investigate", then decide that its "not in the public interest" to prosecute, because Borrows is one of them and an MP besides, he injured a protester (rather than someone who counts in the police's eyes), and ultimately the police see their job as protecting the powerful rather than ensuring they are subject to the same law as everyone else. Even if by some miracle the police did decide to enforce the law, the courts hand out manslaughter and periodic detention to drivers who kill protesters; when its an MP - one of them - involved, and given the chance for them to be unseated, I'm sure the result would be a discharge without conviction.

In other words, our justice system does not cope well with crimes committed by the powerful. The clear message this sends is that people need to pursue their own justice in such cases. But stopping people from doing that is why we have a justice system in the first place.

OTOH, I suppose there's always Graham McReady...