The couple who lined their berm with concrete blocks to stop speeding cars crashing through their front yard could face manslaughter charges if someone died hitting them, a law professor says.
Lower Hutt couple Blair and Louise Ansell placed the six, two-tonne concrete blocks on the berm outside their Naenae home after a car plunged through their fence on Boxing Day.
It was the second time that year that a car had crashed into their yard, the first being in January 2017.
The Ansells were living in fear, worrying about protecting their children from speeding drivers.
Less than a month after placing the blocks on their berm, another car lost control on the corner and crashed into them.
Blair Ansell said at the time he believed he had saved his children's lives by putting the barrier up, and he had "no remorse" about placing the blocks there.
"It makes me feel like I made the right decision by putting them on my lawn, regardless of the naysayers and anybody who had a problem with them, because as I say, that could have been my kids."
A police spokeswoman refused to comment on hypothetical situations, but University of Auckland law professor Bill Hodge said police would have the option of laying charges if someone was to be killed crashing into the blocks.
"I guarantee that it's something the police would consider," he said.
It did not mean police would definitely lay a charge, but that it was "within the realm of possibility".
He believed the Crimes Act could also be used to lay a charge in the case of someone being seriously injured.
Meanwhile the injured person would be unable to sue for compensation for personal injury, though "in theory" they could sue for "punitive damages".
He did not think police would be able to charge the Hutt City Council for failing to remove the blocks, as the Crimes Act was "about defendants who do things, intentionally, not about people who fail to do things, negligently".
But if the driver were to sue for property damages to their car, they could add the council as a secondary defendant.
"It is always possible, and lawyers think about these things, that the people who put the concrete blocks out don't have any money, so look for a second defendant who does have a deep pocket.
"That is the council in many, many cases."
Council transport manager John Gloag said the council had the authority to remove the blocks, "but our focus at the moment is finding a long-term solution to reduce the risk posed by speeding motorists for the Ansell family and their neighbours".
"Soon council will present a preferred long-term solution to the residents of this street for consultation. This is likely to be a speed-calming measure which addresses the real problem on this street, speeding motorists.
"Council is fast tracking this process but it's important the community is involved in the decision-making process."
As a temporary solution, the council would put high-visibility orange water-filled barriers in front of the concrete blocks on the corner, he said.
"Defining the corner in this way is something short term to signal to drivers that this is not a corner that should ever be taken at speed."