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Alexander: Finest Justice Money Can Buy

Media Statement
For immediate release
Monday, 9 June, 2003

Alexander: Finest justice money can buy

United Future law and order spokesman Marc Alexander today slammed a High Court decision halving the two-year jail sentence of a speeding driver who killed a four-year-old girl, because his family offered a $40,000 donation to the girl's kindergarten.

"I guess it's official: If you have the money, you can buy a lenient sentence," Mr Alexander said.

"As it was, I have a problem with two years for an unlicensed, speeding driver killing a child, but to half that is truly absurd.

"There is a huge issue here: New Zealanders must now realise that if you stump up with enough cash, you can get your sentence cut - even if you've taken a young child's life in one of the most irresponsible ways you could imagine.

"The decision is a disgrace to justice, and frankly, to the memory of the little girl," he said.

Chinese student Ding Yan Zhao, 19, killed Georgia McCarten-Graham and seriously injured her father when he lost control of his vehicle having reached speeds of 110km/h in a 50km/h zone in Rangiriri in February this year. She was crushed against a petrol station wall.

"The original sentencing judge ruled last month that 'offenders and their families should not have any grounds to believe that they may be able to buy themselves out of prison'.

"I agree with him - but apparently we were both wrong," Mr Alexander said.


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