A driver who was caught racing on a rural road near Hastings at nearly 200km/h says his sentence was excessive, even though he was going faster than police recorded.
Timothy Brooks Holden pleaded guilty in the Napier District Court last November to one charge of racing on a public road. He was sentenced to 150 hours of community work and disqualified from driving for 18 months.
He appealed to the High Court that his sentence was "manifestly excessive". Holden was willing to do the community work but said he should only lose his licence for 12 months.
The judge disagreed.
Holden was caught racing another car on Gimblett Road at 11.12pm on July 23, 2021, a Friday night.
A police radar clocked him at 176km/h, but Holden told the High Court that he was "actually going 195km/h, hoping to beat the car next to him".
Holden has six driving-related convictions, including two for dangerous driving, one for careless driving causing injury and one for sustained loss of traction, for which he was imprisoned in 2006.
He also racked up 20 infringements attracting demerit points between 2002 and 2020.
Holden's appeal argued that the disqualification period for the car racing was excessive, especially when coupled with the community work, and the sentencing judge was wrong in not giving him a 25 per cent sentence discount for pleading guilty.
He said he needed to be able to travel to see his children in Palmerston North, and this should have been a mitigating factor.
Holden's counsel Lisa Grant said that the race was on a straight, rural back road with only one entry point.
She submitted that no one else was in the area apart from Holden, the other driver and the police officer. Because of the time of night, no other vehicles or workers from the surrounding orchards were likely to be present.
The police countered that the disqualification period was appropriate, considering the seriousness of the charge and Holden's history of driving offences.
Police counsel James Bridgman said that the race took place in the dark on a winter's night, there were no street lights, and the racers could not have known for certain that the road would be empty.
The appeal judge, Justice Gendall, said that Holden's previous driving convictions suggested "that he will engage in such offending again, potentially putting members of the public at risk".
He said it was incumbent on the court to keep dangerous drivers off the road as long as reasonably possible.
He found the disqualification was not excessive and dismissed the appeal.