On the front cover of the NZ Herald today they have a graphic that shows 100,000 or so convictions for drunk driving, 239 people have been let off.
Somehow a lawyer, and the “decent journalist, trained and skilled” who wrote the article, thought that 200 or so of 100,000 or so is 2%, and not 0.2% that you and I both know it is. A 10x multiplication in the number of people released without conviction.
Figures released to the Herald show 239 drink-drivers since 2007 have had excuses good enough to escape conviction – but the Ministry of Justice could not give the names of the judges who granted the discharges, or the reasons.
The online version of the article doesn’t show the number of convictions (making it even more misleading as without this the reader has no way of knowing that it should be 0.2%)
Steve Cullen, who also specialises in drink-driving law, said 239 cases in five years was about 2 per cent, and highlighted how “very rare” discharges were. “That’s because they need to be able to show that the penalty is disproportionate to their actions,” he said.
The 2 per cent of drink-drivers who did get discharges were likely to be people in important jobs or positions that they needed to continue.
Whilst is is poor form for dud judges to let off drink drivers it is more poor form to run a front page story about a problem that isn’t really a problem….just 0.2% of cases…in other words 99.8% don’t get off.