Is the law an ass or the system?

There is much angst about the road toll, there is outrage in the papers and o the news when some wally goes crazy with a gun. But let’s compare and contrast the treatment by the Police and Legal system when someone goes cray with a car.

A carpenter caught driving while disqualified for the 21st time has escaped a jail sentence, but earned a verbal hammering from a judge.

“It is clear you have no sense of responsibility whatsoever for the rules that are supposed to keep the rest of us safe,” Judge Geoffrey Ellis told Michael Wilson, a recidivist drink-driver, before ordering his car to be confiscated. “I cannot envisage a time when you should be allowed to drive.”

Wilson, 39, from Upper Hutt, was stopped by police in Lower Hutt on St Patrick’s Day after a member of the public complained about his driving.

He pleaded guilty to drink-driving, after recording a breath-alcohol level of 898 micrograms – more than twice the legal limit. It was the eighth time Wilson had been caught drink-driving.

In Lower Hutt District Court yesterday, Judge Ellis said: “One can hear the outcry that you should be locked up and the key thrown away, but I don’t have that power.”

A jail term would probably be overturned on appeal, he said.

He noted that, when Wilson was arrested, it was just a month since his last offence. “And yet there you were, all tanked up and driving.”

Presumably Michael Wilson was initially disqualified from driving in the first place for very good reasons. One wonders if her would have been able to commit 21 additional firearms offenses without a licence if caught the first time. Not bloody likely, he would ahve had a stretch in the jail and quite rightly. Yest cars can kill….yep I said cars can kill because opponents of firearms say guns kill. Unfortunately their argument can now be used against them. If you commit an offense again the Arms Act the heavy weight of the Police and the law descends upion you. Yet here we have evidence of a recidivist offender carreening about the countryside in a far more lethal weapon than a shotgun or rifle.

In 2010 372 people were killed by motor venhicles.So far this year 311 people have been slaughtered by rampaging motor vehicles. According to the Public Health Association on average there are just 80 deaths from firearms in New Zealand each year. You are nearly 5 times more likely to be killed by a vehicle than in a firearms incident and yet here we have the system treading lightly with a repeat offender on the roads.

I bet the Judge wouldn’t have been so lenient with Mr Wilson had he been walking around unlicensed and disqualified with a loaded shotgun. That is the equivalent of what Mr Wilson has been doing and yet he gets less that a slap on teh wrist with a wet bus ticket.

It is high time that we had a Justice Minister prepared to implement a zero tolerance approach to this kind of crap, and one who would look into moving Judges who are clearly incompetent back to mundane clerical/gardening duties… pending an early retirement.

That could possibly a little unfair if the Law is the actual Ass… then I would expect the news tough Justice Minister to fix it!


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  • marcw

    So they can’t even deal to tossers like this, but we have the zealots insisting that dropping the blood alcohol limit from 80mg to 50mg will solve all our problems. Seems to me that all that will achieve is criminalising more people who aren’t the real problem (and of course, a bit of revenue gathering).
    I say, sort out what we can do with these people who do cause 95% of the problems, then look at whether further changes are needed.

  • thor42

    I say “bring back the stocks”. Put this prick in the stocks and let people pelt him with rocks. That’ll teach the prick a lesson or two.

  • tristanb

    “One can hear the out­cry that you should be locked up and the key thrown away, but I don’t have that power.”

    Excuses, excuses. How about giving him a proper sentence Justice Ellis? Let the next bleeding-heart judge overturn it on appeal. But at least you would have done the morally correct thing. If this guy kills someone next weekend, you’re going to feel terrible – deservedly so.

    Ellis should have locked the guy up. So what if someone appeals. At least he’s made it stand. The guy who sets him free can then be accountable for the innocent people he’ll one day kill.

  • Mr Blobby

    Appeal on what possible grounds.
    Somebody give the fool a gun so he can do the honorable thing, without putting others at risk, and save on the paper work.