Hit-and-run witness slams judge
Sat, 01 Sep 2012 6:10p.m.
By Amanda Gillies
A former top traffic officer and a witness have described a judge's comments in court this week as reckless and misguided.
Judge Raoul Neave sentenced banker Guy Hallwright to 250 hours community service after he ran over a driver during a road-rage incident. He said Hallwright had a spotless reputation and questioned why he was before him.
From his pizza parlour window, Giampiero De Falco watched Sung Jin Kim being run over by Guy Hallwright.
He watched Hallwright flee the scene and went to Mr Kim's aid.
He later gave evidence in court, and assumed, after Hallwright was found guilty, he would be jailed.
The maximum penalty for the crime is seven years.
“Obviously not seven years, but probably six months, eight months [I thought he would be jailed],” says Mr De Falco. “He must do something due to the severity of the whole thing. It was such a let down when I read it in the paper – unbelievable. I just couldn't believe it.”
Hallwright was this week sentenced to 250 hours community service, ordered to pay Mr Kim $20,000 and disqualified from driving for 18 months.
Mr De Falco also took exception to the judge describing Hallwright as an impeccable character with a spotless reputation.
“If he was such a pillar he wouldn't have left a guy with two broken legs in the middle of the road, go by him and run away.”
Hallwright did return to the scene after dropping his daughter off at a recording studio.
The judge found what he did was not a hit-and-run. He said the media's use of this description was inappropriate and irresponsible.
“What is the definition of hit-and-run?” asks witness Mr De Falco. “The words are very simple – hit, run. You hit someone and you run away. And that's exactly what happened.”
“It meets all the criteria of a hit-and-run,” says Stu Kearns, former head of the Serious Crash Unit and a traffic cop for nearly 30 years.
Mr Kearns was irked by the judge questioning why Hallwright was before him.
“Indeed I have wondered at some length as to whether or not if this had been an encounter with two teenage boys in the back streets of Manukau we would be here today,” says Judge Neave.
“I'd also question the judge, if he is making that comparison,” says former traffic cop Mr Kearns. “If those two teenage boys had injured the pillar of the community [I wonder] whether the sentencing would have been the same on that occasion.”
Mr Kearns said the police did not discriminate when laying charges. Teenagers from Manukau and bankers from Parnell were treated the same.
Guy Hallwright remains silent on the subject. 3 News asked him today if he wanted to give his side of the story and talk about the impact on his life. He declined.
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8/09/2012 6:31:16 p.m.
Gary, you're right it takes two to tango. but regardless of how this happened exactly, you should never drive over someone and leave him/her lying around. That is clear hit and run.
5/09/2012 10:03:03 a.m.
TK I guess it is easy for all us armchair judges to have an opinion. I never take the media stories as complete and non biased. All we know is that a confrontation took place and that takes two people. If you felt threatened in any way with your daughter in the car no one actually knows how they would react unless in the same situation. Again I do not know much of the details but it is clear that it is not just a hit and run that is quite different.
3/09/2012 9:56:25 p.m.
Gary, I think you should read the story again. Hallwright himself worsened the situation by approaching the victim first. He approached Mr Kim and shouted abuse at him and slammed his car door before walking back to his own car.
a clean record may be, but a respectable person? I don't think so.
3/09/2012 11:43:18 a.m.
Reading the very brief information on the case I think the judge did a great job and assessd it well. It was a confrontation that escalated started by MrKim. Sure Mr Hallright has reacted but when placed in a similar situation with your daughter in the car we never know how we would react. A clean record and respectable person, yes right decision.
3/09/2012 8:55:17 a.m.
Fair NZer wrote:
Perhaps all junior judges should be annually "judged" by a panel of senior judges...and so on, eh?
3/09/2012 6:17:27 a.m.
Grant mate, Mr Hallwright ALSO had the option of calling the police, but instead he chose to run Mr.Kim over (An UNARMED Mr.Kim I should also add). The public and media bias is not against Mr Hallwright, I think maybe you are bias against Mr.Kim.
2/09/2012 10:09:49 p.m.
There has been news also on the increase in Altzheimers cases, many of them undiagnosed. Not being disrespectful, but are judges screened for dementia?
2/09/2012 7:22:50 p.m.
Your Honours, I totally agree with you:
Justice is what the rich said and done.
2/09/2012 6:20:57 p.m.
I have been watching this case with interest as this particular judge has been in the media before. It seems that he is completely out of touch with the consequences of his ruling. Perhaps tv3 need to do an expose on this judge.
2/09/2012 5:28:24 p.m.
The judge should be ashamed of himself. Talk about a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket. A clear message should be sent to people who partake in road rage. It is everywhere. Regardless of Mr Kims actions Mr Hallwright did not need to run Mr Kim over. If he wasn't such a hot head he could have diffused the situation.
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