Gisborne Judge Graham Hubble has given a “high-level sportswoman” a discharge without conviction on a drink driving charge. As a bonus, she also received permanent name suppression.
The Police aren’t happy with this. In spite of the main stream media trying to crank this up as someone truly famous, they have just issued a press release to pour cold water on that idea:
Police have also confirmed the woman is not well known nationally and does not play a mainstream sport.
And so the dance of who is or isn’t likely to be the person involved starts. Again.
It’s such a miscarriage of justice that Queens Council Nigel Hampton has made a strong protest about it
Mr [Nigel] Hampton said he was “very surprised” when he heard about the case. “I would say it’s quite exceptional for a discharge without conviction to be granted in these circumstances,” …
Asked if he thought the woman had received special treatment because of her sporting status, Mr Hampton replied: “It sounds a little like it, and one wonders whether that should be the case.
“You think of various high-profile people who have been charged with drink-driving – from actors like Robyn Malcolm to lawyers like Colin Carruthers – and they don’t ask for suppression of name and they don’t see it as a hindrance for them going overseas, because I am sure it’s not.”
So here we essentially have a nobody that went for a drive twice over the limit, getting discharged, and got name suppression, because her lawyer stitched up a story as to how a conviction would prevent her from competing overseas.
Even if that was true, those are called consequences.
This time there are no victims to protect, and the “high level” sportswoman got a get-out-of-jail-free card.
But what the judge hasn’t counted on is the Streisand Effect. The interest in this case is now coming from the media, the legal profession as well as the Police, so when this gets overturned, the poor little darling is going to be very well known, nationally.
To illustrate, who is Jenna Kendall Louise Mackenzie?
I suspect most of you don’t know. Well, Jenna did exactly the same thing, was charged, convicted, and as an Olympic hopeful, her counsel tried and failed to get name suppression:
Her counsel John Black unsuccessfully tried to argue for discharge without conviction and name suppression, stating a conviction would ruin her chances to travel and be selected for the 2012 Olympics, and to fundraise for future international events.
The drink-driving incident had followed the loss of a close friend and was out of character, he said.
Timaru police prosecutor Sergeant Mylen Hamilton opposed the name suppression and discharge without conviction on the grounds as a sportswoman of national standing she should have been more aware of the consequences of drink-driving.
Judge Maze agreed.
Judge Maze should go kick Judge Hubble up the bum:
Judge Maze said the conviction could compromise her ”very real chance” of being selected for the 2012 Olympics but that did not make the offence ”right or proper to use a discharge without conviction”.
”People would know within the relatively small sporting area she has pled guilty to drink-driving.
“To discharge without conviction and suppress her name would leave open the opportunity for the defendant to cause embarrassment to other organisations and cause resentment because others who commit drink-driving offences and have to live with the consequences in their chosen field.”
Consequences. You do something wrong, you pay the price.
The days of “high level” sports or business people hiding behind the law after breaking it should have been well in the past. Instead, we have idiots for judges that think it’s a good idea to send the message that as long as you are successful in some part of your life, the courts will protect you if you have done something wrong.