Driver's time to come clean

19:00, Jan 11 2013

We all make errors of judgment.

Sometimes the mistakes we make have no significant consequences; sometimes they can alter the course of one's life forever.

Fallibility is every human's birthright, but how we respond to our mistakes speaks volumes about what kind of person we are. There are few better ways to measure someone's personal integrity.

By that standard, the silence of four adults involved in a quad-bike crash that left a 6-year-old girl seriously injured is a damning indictment on the kind of people they are.

Ashlee Shorrock is still in Auckland's Starship children's hospital after her father, Daniel Shorrock, his girlfriend Stephanie Lucas, Rhys Liley and Kevin Frater took the girl on a late night joyride in Waimarama on January 2 and crashed down a bank. Police said all the adults were drunk and neighbours reported seeing the group grab a box of bourbon and cola before going "hooning".

Yesterday, police said none of the adults involved have told police who was driving the overloaded bike, and threatened to charge all of them unless they identify the culprit. In some ways, that would be a fitting outcome, as their collective stupidity warrants formal sanction for each of them.

But only one person - the driver - is legally culpable, and his or her refusal to take responsibility for what happened is a cowardly act of self-preservation. Every person has a right to silence, but exercising that right in order to save one's own skin while a little girl is seriously injured in a hospital bed is a despicable abdication of personal responsibility.

It's particularly unfathomable that a father would hide in the shadows when his daughter had been so seriously injured in an act of misadventure in which he was complicit. One wonders what Mr Shorrock will tell his daughter when she's older and asking about the scars on her body. Will he direct all inquires to his lawyer then?

He and his friends made an error of judgment, and people can understand that because we've all made errors of judgment in our lives. What they can't understand, however, is how a group of adults responsible for the suffering of a child could lack the basic decency to admit they made a mistake and accept the consequences. Please have a close look at the identikit picture of the suspect in a Palmerston North sex attack, printed on page 3 of today's paper. If he looks familiar, or you have any other information, call the police. We need to get this person off the streets as soon as possible.


Manawatu Standard