Clarification: The following editorial on the Far North crash which led to charges against Reiss Berger was intended to highlight the benefit of a defence team capable of mounting its own investigation into police charges to the extent those charges failed in court. It was not intended to suggest Mr Berger's ability to engage such a defence team created an untoward benefit.
The case of American tourist Reiss Berger after a fatal crash shows how some people are less likely to face the rigours of our judicial process than others.
Reiss Berger, 22, was facing charges for multiple driving offences - including two charges of aggravated careless driving causing death - after the crash south of Kerikeri in April last year.
Berger arrived in New Zealand on the day of the crash from Melbourne, where he was attending university, to reunite with his girlfriend, who had been attending the University of Auckland.
No one is suggesting the police or courts got anything wrong. Police inquiries concluded there was a case for a prosecution and this was rightly laid with the court, which remanded Berger for trial.
However, the prosecution was called off in late May after Kerikeri lawyer Mike Dodds presented the court with his own investigation, which included inquiries made by former police detective and Northland MP Mike Sabin.
One certainly has to feel for the families of the two men - Yvarn Manaia Tepania, 24, and James Alexander Hamiora, 26 - who were killed. The independent inquiry raised the possibility it was their car which crossed the centreline and caused the tragedy. Testimony uncovered by Sabin suggested the car with the local men crossed the centre line during an argument, Berger took evasive action to avoid the vehicle, which then corrected and the two vehicles met head on.
One family expressed the view it did not expect the process to make them feel better, but they did hope the court hearings would provide some answers. One whanau had agreed to support a discharge without conviction if Berger was to "accept" his role in the crash and plead guilty.
It is human nature to hope for explanations in times of tragedy and many in the situation would rightly look to the courts to provide that.
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Instead, the case has been dropped and Berger will leave the country with his New Jersey family. "They had a bigger team than the police. They had their own crash unit," Hamiora's disappointed sister Dannie Samuels-Thomas said.
A trial is an expensive and resource-heavy process, one would not wish it lightly. But when police have enough evidence to convince the Crown a prosecution should proceed - and, remember, two lives have been lost - the public could rightly expect the principles of justice to apply.
Had this case proceeded to trial, there is nothing in what has been disclosed to infer the charges would have held. However, there is also no assurance Berger may not have been found to be at some fault, and we now do not have that opportunity to find out.
As senior reporter David Fisher says: "Berger's case is very different to every other one that goes through the Kaikohe District Court." Which leaves one residual, troubling reflection: Were the shoe to be on the other foot, and we had a 22-year-old Kaikohe man in the dock, how likely is it that he could have avoided trial?