Drunk driver, killer and back before the court: What do we do with Gavin Hawthorn?

So here we go again. Gavin Hawthorn, one of New Zealand’s most prolific driving offenders, has been back before the courts again.

Gavin Hawthorn: Scumbag recidivist drunk driver, killer.

Just to remind you, this loser has killed four people through drunk driving since 1989. He has been the subject of plenty of media articles over the years and was even featured in Nigel Latta’s Beyond the Darklands TV series back in 2011.

Fourteen years ago, after he yet again drove while drunk and disqualified and killed another person, a newspaper had an interesting article on this man titled ‘Death Behind the Steering Wheel’ that gave an interesting insight into how Hawthorn thinks. It is well worth a read. From that 2004 article: Quote.

The earlier fatal crash [1989] and two-year prison sentence, when Hawthorn was 26, clearly had little impact on his behaviour over the next 14 years. By 1995, when he was sentenced on his seventh drink-drive charge, he had more than 30 convictions, 24 for driving offences. He had been in jail five times.

On that night last winter, police say he was on bail on several charges, including excess alcohol. Although he was not disqualified, his bail conditions included that he not consume alcohol, not enter licensed premises and observe a curfew at home between 7pm and 7am. End quote.

So nothing has changed. How is this guy not back in jail?

Back then, even his mother thought her son was not capable of being rehabilitated.  His father had also given up on him and wanted to see him locked away for a very long time. Quote.

Mr Fryer’s father, Gary, said yesterday that he hoped the judge would hand down the maximum sentence to keep Hawthorn off the roads and out of the community.

“We feel some sort of relief now there is a conviction and sentencing will be the final chapter.

“We’re happy we got a conviction, this is the first stage and gets him out of the community.

“I just hope he gets the biggest sentence he can get, we want the longest sentence to keep him out of the community,” he said. End quote.

Well, he did get a reasonably long sentence for that manslaughter charge, but of course, he was let out eventually.

Now Hawthorn has just appeared in the Porirua District Court where he was convicted for yet another drunk driving offence. ‘He was sentenced to six months home detention, 180 hours community service and is disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s license for two years.’

There have been many articles in the media about this latest court appearance, and Duncan Garner on The AM Show Wednesday devoted a large part of the show to this story. It is a shame however that they kept repeating incorrect information regarding the penalty.

Garner and newsreader Nadine Chalmers-Ross kept advising listeners that Hawthorn was disqualified from driving for ‘only two years’ and that he could get his driver’s licence back after that.

This is of course patently incorrect. The penalty in relation to disqualification was actually an ‘Indefinite Disqualification’. What this means is that Hawthorn is now banned indefinitely from driving. However after a minimum of two years, and only after successful completion of an Alcohol Assessment Course, if he was able to prove that he was then of sufficiently low risk, it could be entertained that he may be allowed to attempt to sit the driver’s licence test again.

Of course, the fact that Hawthorn has regularly refused to undergo treatment offered to him both in prison and in the community would tend to suggest that it would be unlikely that he could ever pass the Alcohol Assessment Course. Even if he was to do so, you would hope that the powers that be would still never see fit to allow him the chance to legally drive again.

This is all a bit moot of course as he has zero concern about holding a driver’s licence: he just drives anyway, disqualified or not.

Interestingly, it was mentioned at his 2013 Parole Board Hearing that with regard to electronic monitoring that, quote.

On the question of electronic monitoring, the specific addendum quotes Mr Hawthorn as saying he would simply cut off the bracelet. End quote.

I guess we will see how it goes with his current six months on Home D. One can only hope that he does cut it off so he can be recalled. The notes in regard to that Parole Board Hearing can be found here. It makes quite interesting reading, particularly around the uselessness of the electronic monitoring and the fact that it can only last six months after his release from prison.

So what to do with this scumbag?

Marie Dyhrberg on The AM Show suggested Hawthorn could perhaps be forced to take a drug which would make him violently ill if he was to drink alcohol! He refuses to comply with any other condition, so how would this possibly be administered? Have someone pop over to his place and force a pill down his throat every day? Let’s get real, shall we?

They also wanted a driving ban for life. Again, it wouldn’t make a jot of difference as he will drive anyway.

There was also talk about Alcohol Interlocks etc. Well, these are only of any use if he is legally allowed to drive, which he is not, so this is also a moot point. You can’t say ‘sorry fella, you’re not allowed to drive at all, but if you do, please only drive in the one car that we have left outside your house that has an interlock fitted’.

I have dealt with plenty of scumbag ferals like Hawthorn before and there is only one way to keep the community safe from them. Lock them up.

In my opinion, we need to have a new law, similar to the Preventative Detention law for paedophiles. One that would allow for the judiciary to lock these killers away indefinitely.

The lives of you and your family are more important than these losers’ rights. Let them rot.


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ExPFC, ex lots of things. Husband to a great woman. Father to great kids. Traveller, teller of tall tales, wannabe capitalist property magnate. I’m a passionate user of fossil fuels, a proud Kiwi, Ford over Holden, Indy over F1, V8’s over everything else.

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