The mother of a 15-year-old boy killed in a hit-and-run has started a petition calling for a longer sentence for the teenager that hit him.
Air force cadet Nathan Kraatskow, 15, died when a learner driver hit him at an Albany intersection on May 18.
Rouxle Le Roux, 19, had drunk wine and smoked cannabis earlier in the day before the Mercedes she was driving crashed into Kraatskow when he crossed an intersection riding a small bike.
The 15-year-old died at the scene. Le Roux and her two passengers failed to stop.
Yesterday, Le Roux was sentenced in the Auckland District Court to 11 months' home detention and 250 hours of community work for dangerous driving causing death.
While Kraatskow's mother, Charlene Kraatskow, initially felt sorry for Le Roux, she was horrified to later find out the 19-year-old had posted a photo to Instagram of her wearing an orange jumpsuit with the caption: "Hide your children".
"I just could not understand how someone could be so heartless and think this whole thing was a joke?" Kraatskow's mother told the court.
Unhappy with yesterday's sentence, she has now started a petition on Change.org questioning the New Zealand justice system and calling on prosecutors to appeal Le Roux's sentence and seek a harsher penalty.
"Our 15-year-old son Nathan was killed in a hit and run and the 19-year-old girl that killed him while under the influence of drugs and alcohol only got 11 months' home detention," she wrote on the petition page.
"What about my son? Where is the justice here?"
Almost 35,000 people had signed the petition by 6.40pm.
"The lack of remorse and making light out of her actions is a real concern to me," a signatory to the petition Amber Hopkins wrote.
"A hit and run is not an accident. Leaving someone to die is murder. Eleven months to sit at home is not a punishment," Leon Senf wrote.
A second Change.org petition had been started by user Georgia Iyes also calling for a stiffer penalty for Le Roux.
Iyes' petition had attracted almost 7000 signatories.
To successfully secure a harsher sentence, Kraatskow's family would need the backing of Government prosecutors at the Crown Law office, whose job is to make the decision on whether there is adequate grounds for an appeal.
Dr Bill Hodge from the University of Auckland's law faculty said he believed the "evil, ugly" Instagram photo Le Roux posted of herself in an orange, prison-like jumpsuit was reason for prosecutors to give careful consideration to an appeal.
Sentencing Judge Nicola Mathers yesterday accepted Le Roux was genuinely remorseful, saying there was "no purpose" in sentencing her to prison.
"I am of the view that the public's right for deterrence makes way for the least restrictive sentence," she said.
But Hodge said he thought Le Roux's photo with its "evil" humour could be seen to nullify any previous evidence of remorse.
This could make it possible to appeal against the judge's decision to use remorse as a mitigating factor in Le Roux's sentence.
"So I would say the mother should have a pretty good chance to have serious consideration given to an appeal," he said.
He said prosecutors would also look carefully at whether there were grounds to appeal because of the huge interest in the case and need for the public to have confidence that justice was seen to be done.
Comment has been sought from police about whether they wish to pursue an appeal with prosecutors.
Le Roux's lawyer, Belinda Sellars, QC, yesterday told the sentencing judge her client accepted "full heartedly" her Instagram post was "ill-thought out".
"At the end of the day this was an accident," she said.