Car switched before date with crusher

By Hamish McNeilly of the Otago Daily Times

Police are investigating how a car destined to be crushed was switched before its seizure. Photo / Thinkstock
Police are investigating how a car destined to be crushed was switched before its seizure. Photo / Thinkstock

The first car in New Zealand destined to be crushed under tough new boy racer legislation has been seized again by authorities, after police say it was the subject of a last minute switch.

Police confirmed yesterday they had recovered the 1982 Toyota DX belonging to Karn Clarrie Forrest, of Milton, which was the subject of a court order last year.

Dunedin-Clutha area commander, Inspector Greg Sparrow, said police had been conducting inquiries this week in relation to the car.

"This follows information from the court that the vehicle surrendered to be crushed was not the vehicle specified in the court order.''

A stripped car, with the registration number KS6755 visible in its window, was seized from Forrest's Milton address last year, and taken to a Dunedin scrap metal yard awaiting a final order to be crushed.

However, it is understood the stripped car had been switched before its seizure.

Insp Sparrow said police had interviewed a "number of people in relation to this matter and charges are pending''.

Police had recovered the vehicle originally ordered to be crushed, but declined to release more details.

"Given the additional inquiries and the fact that charges are pending, the timeframe for the disposal of the vehicle is likely to be extended.''

Forrest declined to comment when asked about the alleged switch.

"I don't really feel like talking to you.''

In December, he became the first person in the country to have his car confiscated and crushed, after his third conviction for driving a vehicle with a sustained loss of traction.

Forrest was stopped by police after performing two "doughnuts'' in his car on State Highway 1, north of Milton, on September 29.

In an expletive-laden Facebook profile, Forrest wrote someone had "narked'' on him for doing doughnuts, and he had planned to put a turbocharger in the Toyota.

"i love me carz an burnouts,'' he wrote.

The delay in the car being crushed prompted the Otago Daily Times to lay an Official Information Act request with the police, who then transferred that request to the Ministry of Justice.

Earlier this week, Judge Stephen O'Driscoll, who had originally ordered the Toyota to be crushed, declined to released the file.

Questions to Justice Minister Judith Collins were referred to Police Minister Anne Tolley, who said: "Justice is being done and this should serve as a warning to any boy racers who want to try and evade the law''.

"If they take part in anti-social and dangerous behaviour then their cars are at risk of being crushed. And they can be assured that the police will find their car, and it will be destroyed.''*

The legislation

*The Land Transport (Enforcement Powers) Amendment Act and the Sentencing (Vehicle Confiscation) Amendment Act came into force in December 2009.

*Referred to as "boy-racer legislation''.

*Allows police to charge drivers and impound their vehicles for an "unnecessary exhibition of speed''or "sustained loss of traction''.

*Vehicles can be seized and destroyed if a driver commits three street-racing offences.

- Otago Daily Times

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