One person misled customers and was stung with a $800,000 fine by the courts.

Another was convicted of aggravated careless driving which resulted in a woman's death. However, the driver who got behind the wheel after drinking, escaped without a fine. He received home detention and lost his licence for two years.

The father of the dead woman cannot understand the discrepancy in sentences handed down by different judges on the same day.

Kerry Gunn, 54, died during the earlier hours of June 15 last year after Tristian Harley Mead hit her car head-on just south of Warkworth.


Mead was sentenced on February 10 this year at the North Shore District Court to nine months' home detention and disqualified from driving for two years on the charges of aggravated careless driving causing death while under the influence, and two similar charges of causing injury.

The maximum sentence which could have been imposed on Mead under the Land Transport Act was three years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and a minimum disqualification of one year.

Gunn's father, John Gunn did not criticise the sentencing judge, who he said was constrained by precedent.

However, he told the Herald there was seemingly a lack of a "deterrent factor".

"It won't change the sentence ... the sentence can't be altered or amended," the 82-year-old said.

"But where is a deterrent factor? The offender will sit amongst home comforts whilst [my daughter's] ashes lay cold in her cremation casket.

"I do question the sincerity of those in authority who call for a reduction in the rising road toll, yet fail to provide a meaningful penalty."

He said he was waiting to receive the judge's sentencing notes.

Police prosecutors had sought the full penalty of imprisonment for Mead, he said.

The night before the fatal crash, Mead had been drinking vodka mixers before and during the Chiefs v Wales rugby match in Hamilton, court documents show.

Post-match he drank a further five pints of beer before returning to his motel with a friend in a taxi.

The pair then had an argument and decided to drive home to Northland about 2.45am in Mead's ute.

Mead, 40, was also on a restricted driver's licence, according to court documents.

Further north at the coastal town of Mangawhai, workmates Gunn and Paul Kerr left Placemakers at 4.05am, destined for Hamilton to work at the hardware store's stand during Field Days.

At about 4.50am, as both drivers travelled towards each other on SH1, Mead crossed the centreline and collided head-on with Gunn and Kerr.

Gunn died at the scene from her "massive injuries".

Kerr, Mead and his passenger were all transported to hospital with serious injures.

Later, Kerr, who fractured several ribs and his sternum and suffered several lacerations, had his spleen removed during emergency surgery.

Blood was taken from Mead some three and a half hours after the crash, and returned a result of 17mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

However, court documents show further analysis by Environmental Science and Research forensic toxicologist Samantha Coward estimated Mead's blood concentration at the time of the crash was between 52 to 87mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, and likely at the mid-point of 70mg per 100ml.

Mead told police he "recalled closing his eyes like a slow blink, opening his eyes and seeing bright headlights".

Criminal Bar Association president Len Andersen did not believe Mead's sentence was inappropriate for the type of charge, given that it was not proven Mead was over the drink driving limit at the time of the crash.

Because the blood test was taken too late and the prosecutors could not prove Mead was over the limit, he could not be charged with drink driving.

"It's probable that if they had taken the blood test and if it had been over, then the penalty would have been greater."

Careless driving could mean something as simple as a moment of inattention, which Andersen said could happen to anyone. It was not unheard of for people to be let off with a fine for a careless driving causing death charge.

Andersen said from the family's point of view, no penalty would ever be enough.

"The judge is constrained by the fact that this was the least serious charge that could be laid in terms of somebody that had died."

With the maximum penalty being three years imprisonment, Andersen said it was particularly rare for a first-time offender to receive a sentence higher than two years in prison, and for sentences under two years, the judge was obligated to look at community-based sentences as an alternative, including home detention.

Also on February 10, Bike Barn was ordered to pay $800,000 over an intensive advertising campaign which claimed bikes had been heavily discounted when in fact they were being sold for full price.

Bike Retail Group and Bikes International, operating as Bike Barn during the two-year period in question, were sentenced in Auckland District Court by Judge David Sharp.

The companies pleaded guilty to 16 charges brought by the Commerce Commission under the Fair Trading Act.