Forgiveness makes parents real NZ hero's
Fatal crash driver escapes jail sentence after family forgive
A teen motorist who killed a four-year-old boy when his modified car mounted a footpath in suburban Christchurch in May has avoided a jail sentence.
Judge Phillip Moran sentenced Ashley David Austin, 18, who admitted dangerous driving causing the death of Nayan Woods, 4, as well as injury to his brother Jacob, 6, and mother Emma Woods, to six months' community detention, 200 hours' community work and disqualified him from driving for three years.
In a remarkable display of forgiveness, Emma Woods embraced a sobbing Austin outside Christchurch District Court after the sentencing this afternoon.
"It's easy to raise voices in anger and condemn others for their mistakes," Mrs Woods said outside court. "Unfortunately, human nature means mistakes are often made.
"Often what separates one mistake from another is the consequence that results. In this case, the consequence was immense and the devastation that has followed is inescapable.
"Although the effects of this mistake cannot be undone or made right, we recognise that Ash [Ashley Austin] has done everything he can to support us.
"We do not believe he can be punished any more severely than by having the guilt of this accident on his conscience.
"We hope the community can stand in support of him as he seeks atonement," she said.
So often in this country the harsh scream for vengence is replaced by any reasoned debate, and these parents who have lost their beautiful child through the stupid actions of a young man who killed that child have shown us another much more amazing response to this dreadful pain, their forgiveness is an example to the rest of us and we should be following them over and above the Sensible Sentencing Trust's lynch mob backed by the hypercritical ACT party when it comes to social policy on punishment. What would be the point of throwing this young man into a corrupt, under funded, double bunked, violent prison system?
The courage of these parents to forgive is inspiring.