Judge blasts police for 'incompetence'

Photo / File
Photo / File

Police say they have taken on board a judge's scathing criticism that they have been failing to provide victim impact statements to the court well ahead of sentencing dates.

Judge Gary MacAskill blasted police yesterday for its "professional incompetence" during the sentence of Christchurch bus driver Lindsay John Taylor, 62, who ran a red light and killed 45-year-old Trish Beets travelling in a car.

The judge said the victim impact statements were only provided to the court just as the sentencing began.

"If it happens again, the roof will fall. I've had enough," Judge MacAskill said.

The police today said the mix-up was down to a "genuine misunderstanding of internal process" - the officer in charge of the investigation forwarded the relevant information to an incorrect email address.

But police said that all the relevant information was obtained and updated two days prior to the sentencing, and was made available to the courts by midday on the day of sentencing.

The matter was due to be heard some time after 2.15pm and finally called for sentencing at 4.35pm.

"Christchurch is a busy metropolitan courtroom, and the statement delivered was prepared with due consideration for the victim's family," a police statement said.

"The family's views were represented accurately, and the statement was read to the court by the victim's daughter.

"There are hundreds of sentencing matters called in courtrooms across New Zealand daily, and Police strive to ensure all victim impact statements produced and delivered to the courts in a timely manner."

National manager prosecutions Inspector Gary Allcock accepted the criticism.

"Police take the judge's comments on board as lessons learned, with a view to improving our internal processes," he said.

"Victims and their welfare are at the forefront of the Police's approach to everything we do, as a victim-centred organisation.

"We will continue to work with the victim's family and support them through their grieving process."

Taylor was sentenced to 200 hours of community work for his fatal "moment of inattention".

Judge MacAskill also ordered him to pay $3800 in reparation and disqualified him from driving for nine months.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 10 Dec 2016 13:11:29 Processing Time: 523ms