By Amanda Gillies
The family of a young mother killed by a driver in an unwarranted, unregistered car wants the sentencing judge to step down, saying he has lost touch with society.
Judge Raoul Neave sentenced the driver to nine months’ home detention and told him that to give meaning to Danielle Reeves’ life he should make a success of his own.
Her family said Danielle Reeves’ life already had meaning.
Judge Neave is the same judge who this week sentenced a banker to community service after he ran over a driver during a road rage incident.
Tracy Reeves is now mother to her granddaughter, Kylah. Her own daughter, Kylah's mum Danielle, was killed in a car accident a year ago.
The young male driver had been trying to prove to her that he could drift his car on a wet night. A month ago he was sentenced to nine months’ home detention by Judge Neave.
“I expected some justice,” says Tracy Reeves. “I wanted him to learn that this behaviour isn't acceptable. Home detention, nine months – he's been grounded. It's disgusting.”
The court heard the driver had twice been banned from driving and was in an unregistered, unwarranted car. He lost control on a corner, ploughing sideways into a parked car. Danielle Reeves died instantly. She had just turned 21.
In sentencing, Judge Neave told the driver “to give some meaning to Danielle's life is to make a success of your own''.
“Danielle's life had meaning,” says her mother.
The family says the judge should step down.
“He is so out of touch with what society wanted and expects,” says Ms Reeves’ father. “He just has no grip on it as far as I'm concerned.”
They contacted 3 News following our story last night on Guy Hallwright's sentencing. Judge Neave sentenced him to 250 hours community service after he ran over and seriously injured driver Sung Jin Kim in a road-rage incident.
The Reeves say that sentence simply wasn't enough. They told 3 News of another upset mother in Dunedin whose child was seriously injured after being hit by a car when walking across a school crossing. Just more than a month ago, Judge Neave sentenced the driver to four months’ community detention and 150 hours community work.
Danielle Reeves’ aunty knows the Dunedin family.
“We were just devastated for the family,” she says. “It just felt like it meant nothing.”
Judge Neave has also been slated by media commentators since Guy Hallwright's sentencing, when he described the media as vulgar and claimed it took an unhealthy degree of glee in the misfortune of someone seen to be in a privileged position.
“The judge has become the target now,” says journalist Susan Baldacci. “Frankly from what I’ve seen, and I wasn't in the courtroom, but from what I have seen, rightfully so.”
“It showed that the judge is completely out of touch with most New Zealanders,” says journalist Bill Ralston.
3 News has contacted the spokesman for New Zealand Judges for comment but so far we have not heard back.
source: newshub archive