Road rage banker ordered to pay $20,000

Guy Hallwright. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Guy Hallwright. Photo / Steven McNicholl

An investment banker who ran over a man, breaking both his legs, was being a protective dad trying to keep his daughter safe, a court has heard.

Guy Hallwright, 60, has been sentenced to 250 hours of community work, banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay $20,000 reparations to the man he drove over.

He was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard after a five-day trial in the Auckland District Court in July, and was sentenced by Judge Raoul Neave this morning.

Hallwright's daughter was with him when he drove the family's black Saab convertible into Sung Jin Kim on Mt Eden Rd in September 2010.

Temperatures started to simmer after Mr Kim tooted the horn of his black Mercedes Benz at Hallwright at a set of traffic lights and followed him to where he parked his car next to Galbraith's Alehouse.

Hallwright got out of his car and confronted Mr Kim before slamming his Mercedes door shut on him and returning to his own car.

Mr Kim banged on Hallwright's car bonnet before he was driven over by the Saab.

Hallwright later stopped to report the incident to police, dropped his daughter at an appointment she was already late for and then received a call from police to return to the scene.

Judge Neave criticised media this morning for referring to the offence as a "hit and run", saying Hallwright was driving "away" from the situation, which had escalated in seriousness by the actions of Mr Kim banging on the bonnet.

"What I know of your character ... I consider it highly unlikely you would have driven at him," Judge Neave said.

He said describing the incident as a hit and run was "irresponsible and inappropriate".

"[Mr Kim] has gone under the wheels of your car, you've driven over him before carrying on with your manoeuvre [of pulling back on to the road]," Judge Neave said.

Defence barrister Paul Davison QC said Hallwright's offending was "nothing more than a protective father seeking to extract himself and his daughter from an escalating situation".

Mr Davison said Hallwright's employer, Forsyth Barr, felt he had brought the company into disrepute as a result of media coverage of the trial.

Judge Neave criticised elements of the publicity and, during this morning's sentencing, suppressed aspects of Hallwright's employment.

The suppressed information was a factor taken into account by Judge Neave who said Hallwright had been the subject of "a degree of prurient media interest that can only be described as vulgar in the extreme".

Judge Neave said as a result of media reports on Hallwright, "less-considered members of the public" had responded to him and his employer in ways which were "as offensive as they were inappropriate".

Judge Neave said Hallwright was a contributor to society with a "spotless reputation" and "impeccable character".

But he objected to stories during his trial referencing his employment.

Judge Neave said it had been "seized upon and reported for no reason other than a desire to take an unhealthy degree of glee" from someone of Hallwright's esteem being on trial in a criminal court.

"The Germans have a word for it: schadenfreude," Judge Neave said.

Judge Neave said the reparation of $20,000 to Mr Kim represented Hallwright's remorse and was not a loophole of the legal system that allowed rich people to buy their way out of more serious sentences.

The reparation is intended to assist Mr Kim, who required reconstructive surgery to shattered bones in his leg.

Judge Neave said he did not want it to be thought that he was overlooking the "very serious" effects on Mr Kim.

He said Mr Kim would have suffered "significant" psychological stress that would have impacted his relationships and businesses.

"[It caused] very significant and severe injuries to Mr Kim ... though it goes without saying you never sought out to cause those injuries," Judge Neave said.

"I accept you were concerned, particularly for your daughter, and your concern for her probably overpowered your judgement."

Before the sentencing, Hallwright's wife, Juliet, took photos of journalists in the courtroom.

"It's a big day for my family and I just want to remember everything," she said.

- APNZ

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