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Thursday, October 28, 2010

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.


At 28/10/10 10:12 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grahame Burton is really fucking sorry too.

Time to release him too, I should think.

At 28/10/10 10:41 am, Anonymous Holly said...

Awesome example of real NZ hero's! My thoughts are with the family at this sad time but what a wonderful gesture, very inspiring!

At 28/10/10 1:59 pm, Blogger snigie said...

Well done

At 28/10/10 5:07 pm, Anonymous deano said...

The parents have the right to forgive, and I applaud them for it. Their lives will be easier if they only have grief to deal with instead of grief and hate.

But the justice system should not have forgiven this clown so easily...he was drifting his car, mounted the kerb, and killed a little boy. He should be in jail.

Boy racers everywhere rejoice at the verdict.

At 28/10/10 5:10 pm, Blogger dave said...

Hear Hear! Now we have to provide some decent tracks where youth surrounded by macho racing mania driven by big auto can get it out of their sysem without killing innocent bystanders.

At 28/10/10 5:22 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great response agreed, then again the Sensible Sentencing Trust is more concerned with violent crimes, not traffic accidents.

I happen to know of someone who lost a loved one to a repeat violent offender - just the sort that the SST focus on. They showed the same level of forgiveness, I doubt I could bring myself to do so. They also joined the SST.

Can hardly blame them, the Three Strikes Policy will keep low lives like the one who committed that crime in preventative detention (and in that case would have saved a number of people from violence)

As a result if they can restrict it to the right crimes I'd be 100% behind it.

3 Strikes is a blunt tool, and I didn't vote for it, and didn't agree with it at the time..but when the "subtleties" of the justice and reform system fail so badly I can see why people lose faith.

At 28/10/10 7:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this the right message to those who choose to behave in a manner designed to kill. These events are not accidents, they are the totally predictable outcome of ongoing selfish and criminal behaviour. The dead/murdered deserve justice, fortunately the dead cannot see how they are being let down.

Drivers (and others) do not seem to want to accept that a vehicle is a lethal weapon, killing with a vehicle is no different to killing with a knife, cricket bat or gun.

Just act 'sorry', con someone wanting to show how 'good' they are into giving you a hug, and you get away with murder. What is their motivation – are they looking for brownie points from jesus, does it give them a feeling of smug superiority, are they delusional, or self-important enough, to believe they can change people, do they want a medal or publicity .....

Will this sort of outcome change the behaviour of road killers - well lets see what the evidence shows over the next 5 years or so.

If the death toll from crazy, self-centred drivers goes up will the forgivers accept any responsibility for the deaths.

For give your enemies if you want, but you have no right to forgive mine.

At 29/10/10 8:56 am, Blogger Wayne said...

Fucking hell Bomber you have things round the wrong way.

The parents have the right to forgive or not to forgive. That is their decision and their's alone to make.

But it is not for the law to forgive. If the law forgave, that would take the right of forgiveness from who it belongs to - the victims.

Now if the victim forgives, and feels better for it, that is great.

But if another victim chooses not to forgive, and demands just punishment, that is also ok, and is not in any way a morally inferior position to take.

Forgiveness is a gift. Not something to be expected in advance by the perpetrator of a crime.

And if you remove proper legal sanctions against criminals you take away the opportunity for the exercise of forgiveness from the victim.

At 29/10/10 8:58 am, Blogger Wayne said...

And by the way, if that fucker had done the same to one of my family, I would not forgive. I would demand the maximum sentence.

And this would not make me morally inferior (or superior) to the parent in this case.

At 29/10/10 9:50 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this guy had been a Maori cultivating cannabis he'd be guaranteed an automatic holiday at one her majesty's hotels.



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