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Criminals Buy Time And Freedom

Media Release

09 June 2003

Criminals Buy Time And Freedom

“If you have money then you don’t have to do the time,” said New Zealand First law and order spokesperson Ron Mark after a convicted killer-driver’s sentence was halved for paying $40,000 in reparations.

Ding Yan Zhao was convicted of dangerous driving causing death in May and sentenced to a two-year jail term after his speeding car crashed, killing four-year-old Georgia McCarten-Graham and injuring her father.

“The latest decision to halve the sentence sends an unwelcome signal to the criminal fraternity – the higher the reparation the lighter the sentence.

“Are we now putting a price on the lives of those killed by dangerous drivers?

“If someone has committed a crime causing death they should not have the right to pay their way out of jail. It is offensive to think Zhao’s family has come to New Zealand thinking they could buy freedom for their son.

”If the Zhao family wish to pay money as a goodwill gesture then so be it, but buying a ticket from jail is not the New Zealand way, or at least it wasn’t,” said Mr Mark.


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