A dud judge overturns a good judge’s decision

God loves a trier and so it seems do dud judges:

A man who fled from police with his one-year-old son in the passenger’s seat, then smashed into a house and ran from the scene, has successfully appealed a sentence of ill-treating a child.

Sam Rakete, 26, was spotted not wearing his seat belt while driving in the suburb of Onekawa, Napier, on April 2. He failed to stop for a police car with its sirens and lights going, and took off at speed.

He drove straight over the front lawn of a property that belonged to one of his relatives, crashed the passenger’s side of the car into the house, then jumped out of the vehicle and scarpered over a back fence.

He left his infant son in the car. The boy, who was in a child restraint, was found in a shocked state and was comforted by his relatives.

Rakete was found guilty of charges of dangerous driving and ill-treatment or neglect of a child. In August District Court judge Tony Adeane sentenced him to nine months jail.  

Tony Adeane is a good judge who doesn’t tolerate fools.

Rakete appealed both convictions.

Of course he did.

In the High Court last month his lawyer Will Hawkins said while Rakete did fail to stop, he had only travelled 500 metres and his driving had not been dangerous to the public or to his son, who had not suffered any injuries.

Lucky him. Could have ended up much worse…which it turns out is needed for such a conviction.

As for the charge of ill-treating a child, Hawkins said in order for that to be proved it had to be shown that Rakete’s conduct had been “a major departure from the standard of care to be expected of a reasonable person”.

Hawkins said Rakete’s conduct “was simply a failure to exercise a reasonable standard of care as opposed to an episode of gross negligence”.

What a weasel lawyer. a resonable person doesn’t flee Police, crash his car into houses and then scarper leaving their kid in a restraint in the car…

Crown prosecutor Cameron Stuart told the High Court the speed and manner of Rakete’s driving was dangerous and intentional, and the act of speeding and crashing into the house was likely to cause suffering or injury to his son.

In a recently released decision Justice Helen Cull QC said Rakete’s driving fell short of the standard of a reasonable and prudent motorist and she dismissed the appeal against that conviction.

However she said the boy had only been left in the car for a few seconds after the crash, and that Rakete had been apprehended within a similar timeframe.

Rakete’s behaviour “whilst unwise in respect of his driving, falls short of ‘intentionally’ engaging in conduct or omitting to perform any legal duty as a parent, in relation to his child”.

She found Rakete’s actions had not been a major departure from the standard of care expected of a reasonable person, and she quashed his conviction of ill-treating a child.

Don’t you just love judges like this…second guessing after the fact. The child was at severe risk from this moron, but oh no…the kid wasn’t hurt so that’s alright.



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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.