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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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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