Mr Mallard wrote the letter for a 24-year-old convicted and sentenced for racing another vehicle on State Highway 2.
The offender was also convicted on another charge of lying to the police. The MP’s letter urged the court to suspend the conviction on that offence, given that the offender had much potential and that could be negated by a conviction for lying to the police.
The Dominion Post reported that Judge Chris Tuohy instead convicted and discharged the man. He granted him permanent name suppression.
Mr Mallard said he knew the young man in question: “I have seen him at particular occasions in the past. I know a member of the family better, but not well, not friends or anything like that.”
He said MPs wrote hundreds of support letters, for everything from helping with letting agencies to banks. Writing one for someone before the courts was a more serious matter, and Mr Mallard estimated he would agree to do about one in every four requests.
He didn’t know if other MPs did the same, “but I’d be surprised if they didn’t”.
They’re more or less just form letters, especially if they come from an MP who doesn’t even know the person other than “knowing the family”. If you’ve been an MP for 30-plus years, you should pretty much “know the family” of most of your constituents. Read more »