Duncan Garner slams judge's sentencing of drink-driving 'monster' who has killed four people

Duncan Garner has slammed the judge who gave a notorious recidivist drink-driver home detention after being convicted of drink-driving for the 12th time.

Gavin Hawthorn has more than 60 convictions, including for burglary, assault, disorderly behaviour and possession of cannabis.

Twelve of the convictions are for drunk driving and four people have been killed in crashes when he was driving.

But, despite calling Hawthorn's behaviour "appalling", Porirua District Court Judge James Johnston sentenced him to six months home detention and 180 hours of community service for his 12th drink-driving conviction. He also was disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence for two years.

Judge Johnston said he escaped jail by the "slimmest of margins", but Garner doesn't think that is good enough and believes the sentence is simply a "wet bus ticket".

"This is a guy who doesn't play by the rules that the rest of us have to obey," said Garner. "This monster of a man simply does not care for anyone else but himself. An arrogant selfish idiot who doesn't deserve to be anywhere but behind bars."

"This guy has no right to ever drive again in New Zealand. He should have lost that privilege as a minimum - Hawthorn is a killer and there is nothing stopping him doing this again in six months' time when his Home D is done. He will go and grab a car, he has done it before. He has been disqualified from driving ten times".

Garner said the case was an example of why the public "have little confidence in the justice system" and said the judge was way off the mark.

"This judge has failed to keep us safe as New Zealanders. We've been let down by his profession once again. He has let us down, now we are in harm's way," he said.

"The Chief Justice, I think, needs to overrule this, review it, get involved. I don't know how that works, but surely they can do something like this".

"Justice must be done".

The sentencing was also criticised by victim advocate Ruth Money, who told The AM Show the current justice system isn't working and the public is at risk.

"Give us time to get him the mental health, the alcohol and drug rehabilitation that he needs, but keep us safe," she said.

Ms Money said judges are supposed to take into account public opinion, but doesn't believe that has happened with this case.

"This sentence is ridiculous and far from what the public would expect and that's what the judiciary's job is to do, they have to sentence within public opinion and they haven't," she said.

In 2004, Hawthorn was jailed for 10 years for the manslaughter of his friend Lance Fryer, who was killed in a high-speed crash in the Wairarapa. Hawthorn had previously killed two passengers in 1989 when his car crossed the centre line while he was drink-driving. A third passenger involved in that crash died over a year later.

He has been to jail eight times, with an offending history that dates back to 1979.