Disqualification will give Taranaki man time to mature, lawyer says

Samuel Hawkins's criminal track record resulted in a long driving disqualification for the 20-year-old when he was ...
CATHERINE GROENESTEIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Samuel Hawkins's criminal track record resulted in a long driving disqualification for the 20-year-old when he was sentenced in the Hawera District Court on Wednesday.

A young man whose actions contributed to the death of a Hawera grandmother in 2014 has been disqualified from driving for 18 months after being convicted on new charges.

Samuel Lance Hawkins was caught twice in April by police driving at speed at roundabouts in the centre of Hawera, South Taranaki.

At the 20-year-old's sentencing in the Hawera District Court, Sergeant Steve Hickey sought a lengthy term of disqualification for the defendant.

"In terms of public safety and interest, Mr Hawkins has become somewhat of a problem to road users in general," Hickey said. 

The police had considered seeking an order for the car to be surrendered to the court, but had decided not to, due to its poor condition.

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"He's stripped everything of value off it. We would be doing him a favour if we took it away."

At 5.30pm on  April 7, Hawkins was seen driving at between 70 to 80 kilometres per hour in a 50kmh area. 

He drove towards a roundabout at the intersection of High and Collins Sts at speed, causing the rear of his vehicle to slide out and narrowly missed another car.

A week later, at 1.40pm on April 15,  the defendant drove into another roundabout, this one on the corner of High and Albion Sts.

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He accelerated heavily off the roundabout, causing the vehicle to fishtail from side to side along High St, then drove a little further, did a u-turn and again sped through the roundabout, causing the car to lose traction and slide from side to side.

Hawkins previously pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving and sustained loss of traction.

In April 2016,  Hawkins, along with two others, was sentenced for the manslaughter of Hawera grandmother Christine Anne Fairweather. 

The 57-year-old was killed after being hit by a car after she had gotten out of her own vehicle to remove metal barriers that had been deliberately placed in the middle of the road by the trio.

For his role, Hawkins served nine months' home detention and 100 hours of community service.

On Wednesday, Neal Harding said being disqualified would allow Hawkins a chance to mature while he was off the road.

"Unfortunately for my client, these charges are a continuation of his lack of insight into the responsibility of being a road user. Even at the minimum of 12 months, he will be a year older when he can get his licence back."

Judge Lynne Harrison commented on Hawkins' "considerable driving and road-related offences".

"What aggravates these offences for me is they occurred while you were on post release conditions, and they occurred in close succession," she said.

"You've come very close to a sentence of community detention, but the Sergeant is right, disqualification will keep you away from where we don't want you - the road."

She sentenced him to  280 hours of community work and disqualified him from driving for a total of 18 months.

 - Stuff

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