Crushing of boy racer's car sends 'clear message'

By Hayden Donnell, Otago Daily Times

A Milton teenager's car could be the first to be destroyed under new legislation. Photo / Thinkstock
A Milton teenager's car could be the first to be destroyed under new legislation. Photo / Thinkstock

Outgoing police minister Judith Collins has backed a decision to crush a Milton teenager's car as a "clear message" to boy racers.

Eighteen-year-old Karn Clarrie Forrest, of Milton, was today sentenced on charges of driving while disqualified and driving a vehicle with a sustained loss of traction.

He is set to become the person to have his crushed under the 2008 Vehicle Confiscation and Seizure Bill, which ensures offenders' cars are crushed after their third driving offence.

Ms Collins was dubbed "Crusher Collins" after she supported the bill through Parliament.

The crushing measure works on a "three strikes and you're crushed basis", with boy-racers needing to commit three illegal street racing offences - either racing or "sustained loss of traction" - in a four-year period.

She said today's decision sent a message to the 86 people currently sitting on two illegal street racing charges.

"The image of this car being crushed will send them a clear signal.

"If they don't get the message, then that's right, they could be next."

Ms Collins defended the two-year wait for a car to be crushed under the bill.

It was always expected to take time to apply the law under three strikes legislation, she said.

Forrest was charged with driving while disqualified and driving a vehicle with a sustained loss of traction on State Highway 1 north of Milton on September 29.

At 11.40pm, Forrest was at the intersection of Narrowdale Rd and SH1, Forrest accelerated hard causing the vehicle to sustain a loss of traction. He then spun the wheels of the vehicle causing it to spin around in a circle, twice, before driving off along Limeworks Rd, Milburn.

Police followed Forrest and stopped him back on SH1 at Milton. He admitted being a disqualified driver and causing a sustained loss of traction.

Prosecutor Sergeant Penny Stratford noted as it was Forrest's third conviction for driving with a sustained loss of traction and under section 129A of the Sentencing Act - which was amended two years ago - his car could be confiscated and destroyed.

The Land Transport (Enforcement Powers) Amendment Act and the Sentencing (Vehicle Confiscation) Amendment Act - legislation specifically targeting street racers - came into force in December 2009.

The laws empower police to charge drivers and impound their vehicles for an "unnecessary exhibition of speed" or "sustained loss of traction", allowing vehicles to be seized and destroyed if a driver commits street-racing offences three times.

Representing himself, Forrest said he had since sold the 1982 Toyota Corolla.

Sgt Stratford said the vehicle registration remained in his name.

Judge O'Driscoll said he believed Forrest was likely to be the first in New Zealand to have his vehicle destroyed under the legislation. He ordered the Toyota with the registration number KS6755 to be confiscated and destroyed under the Sentencing Act.

Forrest was convicted on both charges, sentenced to 150 hours of community work and was disqualified from driving for 13 months, coming into effect from August 13 next year when his current disqualification ends.

- Otago Daily Times

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