EDITORIAL: Family feels system has failed them


JUSTICE and remorse - two things that family members of victims of crime should expect and deserve to see.
The family of Jasmatbhai Patel doesn't feel they received either (report page 5).
They have lost their 78-year-old patriarch after he died in a senseless road-rage incident.
Bio O'Brien was given a three-year jail term for manslaughter.
He could be free early next year when he becomes eligible for parole after serving one-third of his sentence.
They believe their father's life was worth more.
The family says O'Brien has not shown real remorse. He has asked to meet the family.
Not surprisingly, they have not agreed to a meeting.
O'Brien's early guilty plea saw the judge reduce his four-and-a-half year sentence by 18 months.
You can understand the Patel family's disappointment when you hear what happened.
O'Brien's reaction to a minor collision was extreme - a point the judge acknowledged.
The damage was reportedly a 30cm dent.
But that didn't stop him getting out of his BMW, and pulling Mr Patel out of his van.
Witnesses say Mr Patel, a tall and slim grandfather, tried to calm down O'Brien, a well-built 28-year-old, but he grabbed Mr Patel and pulled him over to see the damage.
He also beat him about the head and face.
All this took place in front of terrified students from Gladstone Primary School standing across the road.
You can imagine the trauma they experienced witnessing this assault.
O'Brien continued the assault regardless, pulling and pushing Mr Patel away.
This caused the pensioner to become unsteady, ripped buttons off his shirt and bruised his chest.
But still his rage continued.
As Mr Patel tried to back away with his hands out to protect him, O'Brien continued to hit him.

He eventually let him go but then pushed him in the chest, sending him backwards into the kerb.
That push fractured the base of his skull and he began to bleed profusely.
Only then did O'Brien stop.
He tried to pick him up but Mr Patel was unable to stand by himself.
O'Brien moved him to a grass verge where he laid him down.
Members of the public stopped to give first aid while O'Brien paced backwards and forwards on the grass.
O'Brien had offended before in 2001. He was given community service for threatening to kill and for assaulting a female.
Does this sound like justice or remorse to you?

- Hawkes Bay Today

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