167kmh: These are the people that cause road fatalities

A 19-year-old Blenheim man has appeared in court after he tried to pass a police officer at nearly 170kmh.

James Kelly Smith, of Springlands, appeared at the Blenheim District Court yesterday after being stopped on December 2 when he was clocked driving at 167kmh in a 100kmh zone.

The police officer stopped Smith on State Highway 83 at Kurow, near Oamaru after he noticed him approaching from behind at high speed, before pulling into the right-hand lane to pass him, the court heard.

Smith told the officer he was in a hurry to get to Queenstown and had no idea what speed he was going because he was looking at the road.

So he was too busy to look at his speedo because he was concentrating on driving.  Isn’t that ironic?  

A fines report was completed yesterday, showing Smith had nearly $8000 owing.

Judge Jan Kelly sentenced Smith to 150 hours’ community work to be served on top of 13.5 hours he had outstanding from another 105-hour sentence.

Once that was completed his $7712 worth of fines would be remitted, she said.

On the charge of driving at a dangerous speed, Smith was disqualified from driving for six months.

Yeah, that’ll do it.   /TUI

And the rest of us have no speeding tolerance because “we” kill.

Does my head in.

These are the people that cause road fatalities through speeding:  idiots.   But good people are being fined for exceeding the speed limit by 1 km/h.


– Stuff


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  • cows4me

    Good on him, he’s very lucky he wasn’t riding an ATV without a helmet, that would have cost him $40,000. 105 hours with community service and he owes $8000. I know who should be in jail here, not the driver, not the farmer but our bloody corrupt justice system, it makes me spew.

    • chef01

      It seems that our judges need to be reviewed yearly same as others in a work place. The review should be done average people not public servants.

    • Dave

      Perhaps C4M, that is a exceptionally good question to put to the minister of Justice, and also a question to put to the police minister, “how do the senior officers feel about that case?”.

      The only Journo likely to run a follow up is the editor of Freed, once its up and running. Asking the pollies for answers on black and white cases such as these is unlikely to get any answers, but it might give them reason to keep prodding the judiciary, or perhaps appeal a few dud decisions!

    • KinaRolf

      Not to mention “illegal” water filled holes as pools, bicycle helmets, and all other nuisance laws and regulation that keep the cash flowing to the bureaucratic brotherhood and politicians. .

  • HR

    Okay, so this muppet passes a police car at 170km/hr, then the judge pays him $50 per hour to “work” off his fines?? This sends a very poor message.
    Also, he obviously pleaded poverty to the judge, “no money to pay my fines your honour”, but can afford to run a car that will do 170-odd km/hr.
    Wet bus ticket justice.

    • Cambo

      it would be much fairer if he worked off his fines at the minimum wage rate.
      His car should be impounded till he has paid off his fines too. Or sold to help pay them

      • HR

        I have a position as a District Court Judge for you if you are interested??

        • Cambo

          Sure. First thing I will do is open up the cupboards full of wet bus tickets and bin them

      • rantykiwi

        Add in an indefinite ban from driving. Our dud judges need a paradigm shift – a driving licence is a privilege not a right. If it is abused then it is removed, and regaining it should be a significant and expensive hurdle.

      • DangerMice

        Minimum wage? why do you want to oppress this fine young man into poverty? At the very least it should be living wage.

        • Warren Murray

          At least if his community service in lieu of the fine was at a rate equivalent to what someone would be otherwise paid for that work, it would be a lot fairer than $50 an hour.

        • Cambo

          Well according to the legal system, the living wage is around $57 an hour.

    • DoctorEvo

      That’s $50+ per hour AFTER TAX.
      This is equivalent to an annual salary of $148,616.52 per annum.
      …which beggars belief!

      • Cambo

        Where do we apply for a PD job? Not a bad rate! I will even turn up!

    • Barnacles2

      How much is his car worth? The courts should seize it, sell it to pay the fines and retain any excess as a penalty.

      But wait, now poor Jonny can’t get to work, loses his job, and becomes a burden to the taxpayer.

      There needs to be a penalty that makes these guys (most offenders are male) take notice, impounding cars, seems to be the most effective. Removing some freedoms, i.e. Doing PD on Saturdays, instead of spending time with their mates doesn’t have the impact required.

      • johcar

        Perhaps have a fleet of bright pink Nissan Micras (or similar). Seize the offenders vehicle, and supply him a girly-car that would struggle to achieve 100km/h down hill with a tail wind until the fines are paid and the community service done.

        And of course a fair rental would be required on the replacement vehicle….

  • Rod

    The correct path for the judge to take here would be to suspend the driver’s licence until all fines were paid and all community service completed.

    • Catriona

      Exacty. Is this repeat offender still driving?

    • Bunter

      And confiscate his vehicle until fine paid in full

      • johcar

        And make a note on his Baycorp credit report so he can’t just go borrow some money for a new vehicle…

    • And it would probably be overturned on appeal, if our courts started taking this stuff seriously and dishing out penalties that matched the offence the Police would not have to resort to 1 k tolerance and similar, e.g. 170k’s? the car should be taken (permanently) for a start.

      • Warren Murray

        I presume there are sentencing guidelines that judges use to minimise the risk of an appeal. However, if the driver had to appeal, it would involve incurring some further expense in legal fees, etc, so that might slow them down.

  • Tom

    My wife’s niece’s boyfriend had 12K of unpaid fines. Their answer even though the guy had a job was 6 months of PD. 26 saturdays = 12K = 461 per saturday. 57 bucks per hour.
    So I’ve told my wife I’m never ever going to pay any fines any more.

  • Betty Swallocks

    Now Smith has already accumulated at least $8000 in unpaid fines and already has an uncompleted community service sentence. Another community service sentence is appropriate is it ‘Judge’ Kelly? That’s REALLY, REALLY sending this fool the right message isn’t it? He already has no respect for anyone else, and no respect for the law either, so I suspect we’ll read about him again some day after he’s mowed someone down on a pedestrian crossing or killed himself +/- one or more of his mates. He just doesn’t care about the consequences of living his life from the perspective of a Playstation game, and he needs to be reined in before he involves someone innocent. Big fail ‘judge’ Kelly.

  • simblor

    Perhaps people like this need to be woken up in the middle of the night and taken to crash scenes by the police/firemen so they can witness reality.

    • HR

      Unfortunately they are part of the “can’t/won’t happen to me” brigade, but I think that is a great idea and should be part of their community service

    • Perhaps we all do. There was a great show on tv a while back that investigated serious car accidents, it was very informative about what actually caused crashes and how they killed.

  • TSD

    Let’s be reasonable here. He wasn’t in the death zone of 1 to 4 km over the limit so he’s not a danger.

  • Catriona

    Remember those crazy twins from the South Island who had thousands of $$$ in fines they never had a hope of ever paying? Not sure if there fines were wiped completely. Does anyone know the case history?
    Judges are getting softer and softer if this feral got let of paying his fines in turn for community service. What a joke. The law is an ass. Will it stop this feral from behaving badly in future – don’t think so.

  • JustanObserver

    This all just seems too much of a temptation for us ‘ordinary’ Kiwi’s.
    Pay no fines ever again, have no regard for trivial laws that you may break, accumulate your Court ‘Tab’ …
    All will be forgiven once you reach an ‘undefined’ magical figure, regardless if you work or not, all you will be ‘encouraged’ to do is spend some time with ‘colourful chaps’ over a couple of weekends, this will be an excellent way of broadening your ‘social’ communication skills.
    Dire Straits – Money for Nothing … comes to mind

    • BlitzkriegNZ

      My brother had about $10,000 wiped and spent his ‘punishment’ getting stoned for a few hours a week at a local animal park. Excellent way to meet new drug contacts.

  • Primrose

    Do you not think that checking drivers’ licences would do more good than any of their “plans” so far?

    • johcar

      If they actually validated the licenses against their database, instead of just giving the license the visual once-over, it might get a few ‘new kiwis’ off the road…

  • Cadwallader

    I suggest that before the msm heads into the stratosphere of how dangerous tourists on our roads possibly are, that hire companies ensure all of their bailees are competent to drive. This is a test which would embrace all drivers including locals. Yesterday I drove laboriously up the Kaikoura coast behind a camper-van which had its right hand indicator flashing for about 30 kms. The driver was trundling along at about 75kph. The tail of traffic had about 20 cars, I happened to be the one immediately behind the indicator flasher. Given the indicator being to the right the idiot driver was not just an irritant to those following but was causing approaching drivers to slow in case he did turn right in front of them. The number plate on the rear of the camper-van was obscured by two bicycles hung over it so I couldn’t have gotten on the blower to bellyache about him. Finally a guy behind me in a V8 Holden perilously passed several cars, me and the camper-van then slammed on his brakes with all indicators ablaze to warn pass the message to the driver. It didn’t work. Four hours later driving near Tawa on the Wellington motorway who should I catch-up to but the same camper-van, this time the left-hand indicator was flashing, I passed him as soon as I was able to.

    • Catriona

      Maybe you could have phoned *555 anyway and the Highway Patrol might have come looking for them. It is now illegal to carry bikes on the back of your vehicle without a temporary numberplate. You will get ticketed, so I am surprised that this vehicle wasn’t. We have a temporary number plate now that we tie onto the bikes so that our rego is visible to all. Costs $20.00. Yes, I acknowledge that you couldn’t see the rego because of the bikes, but I would have got on the blower and reported this nuisance anyway,

    • SlightlyStrange

      We had similar. Some sunday driver in a rav4 heading north from Kaikoura on Tuesday, doing 80 at most, followed him for what felt like forever (honestly, that piece of coast has never felt so long before). Thankfully we were the front car, so got past him quickly when we finally got a straight with no opposing vehicles.
      Was very tempted to call the number on the tyre cover to ask them to pull over.

    • Dave

      A suggestion, respectfully for future reference Cadwallder. After a few KM, call hte rental company, tell them their vehicle is not being driven appropiately, and the driving could cause an accident, and also notify the police.

      Rental companies now have a “responsibility” as they have checked the drivers, they can act and cancel the hire! Police also need to be told. Its also an offence to obscure the number plate :)

      Your comment is why we have a Dashcam in our vehicles, and recently we sent footage after a bus pulled out right in front of us on a roundabout, thankfully we stopped, but only by a metre or so. They called back, the driver had been suspended for a few days to consider his actions.

      • Cadwallader

        Thanks. I am not up to the techno stuff like “dashcams.” I would likely end up with a selfie of my butt.
        I can walk into Hertz, show my license to the personnel who I imagine run it through a computer or two, they then hand me the key and I am heading off down the highway. There are no checks as to suitability to drive. They do offer maps and occasionally a motel guide but all-in-all it is a bit haphazard. I have an account with a rental car company and occasionally I await 4-5 months for an invoice. Very generous.

  • Michelle

    When this lad wraps himself round something in his car you will see his name up in the MSM about how great a guy he was and his parents crying to them about the loss of their poor boy
    Judges all need to do time in the back of police cars on holidays and weekends they might then change their minds there are a few judges round who do give good sentences but they are on the endangered list

  • Geordie

    Another one that flouts the law while the police think targeting all the law abiding citizens will fix everything, what saved people from this scum was another driver.

    The best way to make our roads safer is improving the actual roads and to protect us against the lunatics, the police should be encouraging the use of *555. Just like ringing 111 when you see someone doing something wrong. Plus people that continue to drive dangerously need to have their licences cancelled permanently and they should only be able to resit (right from the beginning) once they have demonstrated they are no longer a risk. Drivers that are caught driving while disqualified need to have their cars impounded and sold.

    I am constantly amazed at the attitude of people who think that by targeting everyone for a minor breach of the law, it will stop people who are dangerous. A bit like the smacking law didn’t stop parents and care givers beating their children to death, but it is OK because all the responsible loving parents no longer smack a naughty toddler on their nappy!

    • Cambo

      Ironically, most would be unable to ring *555 as it’s illegal (Unless handsfree) and also extremely difficult as you try to stay within 1km of the speedlimit

  • Wheninrome

    The hand wringers will just say “boys will be boys’ – the “silliness of the young”. “Their but for the grace of god go I” “He was a wonderful young man who loved his mother”.
    He isn’t dead though, so what are their thoughts on him, have they any advice to offer.

    • Tom

      If he was a sports person he would of got off scot free.

      • Euan Ross-Taylor

        Maybe he makes people laugh?

  • Another Middleagedwhiteguy

    “Once that (150 hrs. community work) was completed his $7712 worth of fines would be remitted, she said.”
    Yes, that sort of judge are what cause all sorts of fatalities.

  • steve and monique

    What I want to know is why on Earth don’t they impound and sell his car to pay a portion of the fines? If he can’t afford his fines perhaps because he is living on the taxpayers generosity then he theoretically shouldn’t be able to afford another car. And he should automatically be listed as someone who is to be refused credit on the basis he owes money to the courts.This means no credit to get a car. Not sure if this happens already. We need to be thinking outside the box.Fines are a joke as is a “disqualified from driving” for 6 months stint. What a joke! I wonder if those of us that go 4k’s over will be able to get off our fines by weeding a garden?

    • Hard1

      “We need to be thinking outside the box”. They have, by setting up a lenient parallel sentencing system for scofflaws.

  • Sailor Sam

    Yeah, I do 1 km over the speed limit and get the bok thrown at me.
    The judges need naming and shaming for their stupidity.
    The police need to start comlaining about these judges, but will that happen, I doubt it.
    The judges and police bosses share funny handshakes and drink at the same elitist golf club waterholes.

  • Backdoor

    Is there any evidence that Police have actually given a driver a ticket for doing 102km? They may have been stopped for that speed, had their Reg and WOF and license checked, and even had to blow in the sniffer. Which is a good way of checking out all those things.

    Carry on Constable.

    • Hard1

      Police have instigated a huge amount of stress across the country. “Drive Paranoid” should have been their campaign slogan.
      Unless this whole operation is just a smokescreen to finance hundreds more speed cameras with numberplate recognition technology matching the vehicle owner with Government records. Just saw 2 new ones yesterday in Flatbush, Mill Road and Murphy’s Road.

      • Backdoor

        Possibly the paranoia is caused by the driving practices of a small percentage of our drivers. Some of us can manage to travel at 98 – 100 kph without trouble.

        It is possible to monitor instrumentation while driving. Racing drivers monitor engine revs for gear changes, and at high speed. But the big difference is they can drive.

  • With this type of sentences being dished out, our roads will remain unsafe. Idiots like this should have had his vehicle impounded as well as some time behind bars to think about what he is doing.

  • GMAK

    It wouldnt matter if they suspended him from driving. How many suspended drivers are on our roads at the moment? My guess is plenty

    • I.M Bach

      That’s one of the positive things about number plate recognition cameras. The chances of a car being driven by its disqualified owner are pretty good. As for judge in the above case….sigh…

    • InnerCityDweller

      have a look at this: http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Research/Documents/Speed-2014.pdf
      the whole document is worth going through, but check out page 9, figures 6&7

      • Dave

        Increadible and thanks for the link. GOing by that, the police should have simply set up massive check points and pulled people over who:

        * Were young
        * Looked dodgy
        * Were driving older vehicles
        * Had heavy loads

        Imagine the revenue they could have generated. At every check point, they could have had a few tow trucks and some taxis. Confiscated or impounded cars, and sent the offenders home in a taxi or on foot if they can’t afford a taxi. That would send a very clear message, Police are getting death off the roads, leaving the rest of us to get to our destination safely!

  • Warren Murray

    I commented on this yesterday:

    This judge sure has extended a digit toward the Police, hasn’t she?
    What sort of a ratbag amasses nearly $8,000 in fines, by the age of 19? After being caught doing such high and dangerous speed, and having so much owing, why wasn’t the car forfeit?
    Does he need his eyes checked? Evidently he thought nothing of passing a police car at such a dangerous speed, what does that say about Smith’s judgement?
    Judge Kelly has valued Smith’s 163 hours of community service at over $47 an hour ($98,110 per annum, net). I wonder what valued service he actually performs?
    While many other drivers will have to pay their fines for infringements during the holidays, Smith doesn’t. I’m sure he has learned a lesson from this.
    The Police should appeal.

    I suppose the only thing that can be said for this loon is he didn’t cause any actual ‘harm’, but we can anticipate that it is only a matter of time. The judge’s sanction seems wrong, which is probably why the Marlborough Express found it news worthy.

  • Cambo

    Actually the issue is you actually need some tolerance as Car Speedometers are not accurate. There also factors to bear like tailwind, hills (downhill). Eyes should be focussed on the road and avoiding risk not scanning the speedo to ensure you are following the legal limit.
    Dangerous driving kills. Speed does not

  • Dave

    Im about 40 years older (and a little wiser no doubt) have probably driven 100 times the distance he has, and at or slightly above the limit, yet despite all of this, my total fines would probably add up to 10% of his fines.

    This candidate for the Darwin drivers award, needs a night in a busy emergancy room, and a few nights in the slammer. I am seriously wondering if there is some sort of link between this young criminal and the judge. I also ask, when this young man kills himself or others as he didnt learn his lesson AGAIN, will the judge accept any moral responsibility?

  • Dave

    Whilst I would never condone this, it would be an interesting experiment. Say we knew of a wealthy person with a seriously high performance and exceptionally fast car. A tip off to police, they would be testing its top speed at location x around 2.00 am (when the roads are almost deserted). For safety, a pilot car checks there is no traffic on the 2km straight stretch of road and beyond, and off goes the test car.
    Officer Plod pops out with a radar expecting to catch the car speeding, and suddenly wealthy citizen has a ticket for doing 167 Km/H in a 100 km zone.

    But its not too bad, in court, the judge mulls confiscating his car, and his Barrister rolls out the precedent on the same stretch or road a few weeks ago, a young man got off……….. next minute, all fines are dropped, there is no confiscation, wealthy citizen has a short loss of license, and a few hours community service. So, he rocks off to the doctor gets a certificate about a dodgy heart valve, and is excused from community service.

    And the lefties complain its the wealthy that get special privilidges, ah, “Tui”

    In the interests of a precedent, I expect the police or MOJ to appeal. This is absolutely ridiculous.

  • jonno1

    You’ve overlooked that in a democracy laws need the consent of the people to be workable. Not everyone, but the majority accept it when a law is fair and reasonable, and benefits society as a whole. So most recognise that some speed tolerance is reasonable, while zero tolerance is unreasonable and indeed impractical in the real world. It’s as simple as that, not a desire for licence to drive at any speed which would create a serious mismatch between one driver and the next, regardless of skill and conditions.

  • InnerCityDweller

    Let the cops deal with the dangerous and incapable ones first. You know, those that actually kill and maim. Once that’s been sorted, by all means tighten things up, a bit at a time, but until then, leave those of us a little over in peace. Seems to work the world over, what makes the cops in this country think it won’t or can’t work here. I’ve linked to this document in another comment. Go and read: http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Research/Documents/Speed-2014.pdf and also this: http://www.transport.govt.nz/research/roadtoll/christmasnewyearholidayperiod/

  • Whitey

    When the Police start to target people like this, I will start to believe they are serious about road safety.

    • dgrogan

      Well, the police did pick up this hoon. Seems he was in a hurry to give himself up. The problem here is the rather lenient way he was delt with by the courts, no? I’m imagining the cops will be pretty angry with the sentencing judge also. After all, what sort of message does it send the public about keeping their speed down?

      • Whitey

        Yes, very true, and I should clarify that I don’t hold the cops responsible for the court’s decisions.

  • GT

    What gets me is these crim’s get let off their fines so easy that works out at over $50 an hour I would lay dollars down that he does not earn anywhere near that! I think that the judges should work it out at the minimum wage an hour and enforce it so the buggers think twice before just running fines up as they see fit. Ends up with the honest people that get caught doing something that pay there fines to keep the system going.

    • damm good thrashing

      He should have had his car confiscated and gone to prison. I would be happy for my tax dollars going to build more prison to lock these cretins up.

  • damm good thrashing

    If the judge did that then the judge is an idiot.