Speed­ing lawyer de­fends him­self

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

As the lawyer who chal­lenged the ev­i­dence in a speed cam­era case, let me point out the hypocrisy which un­der­pins the crit­i­cism lev­elled at me by some of your read­ers.

Ev­ery driver has, from time to time, glanced down at their speedome­ter and no­ticed they were trav­el­ling over the limit.

When I re­ceived no­tice of my al­leged in­fringe­ment with a blurred pic­ture, that was ex­actly the sit­u­a­tion I was in – tech­ni­cally guilty, but no-one had any ev­i­dence of my wrong­do­ing.

It would be lu­di­crous to sug­gest that driv­ers who de­tect them­selves speed­ing should im­me­di­ately di­vert to the near­est po­lice sta­tion and make a full con­fes­sion, yet those who crit­i­cise me for ‘‘get­ting off’’’ should be do­ing pre­cisely that if they want to be morally con­sis­tent.

I didn’t ‘‘get off’’’; the po­lice didn’t get me ‘‘on’’. If the ev­i­dence was con­vinc­ing I would have paid.

I don’t know why your reader An­drew Wel­lum (Au­gust 23) feels I need his sym­pa­thy. Nor do I feel the shame Phil Caw­ley (Septem­ber 2) thinks I should.

I didn’t call the press to crow about my vic­tory.

The lit­i­gant who fol­lowed me had called them in.

I di­verted the $35 to a char­i­ta­ble cause.

The chal­lenge I made in court was not about the pho­to­graph, but the pro­ce­dure by which all speed cam­era photographs are pro­duced in ev­i­dence.

I be­lieve this is ut­terly flawed. But the po­lice re­sisted this ar­gu­ment and the jus­tices sided with the po­lice, so I had to go to my fall­back po­si­tion, that a blurred im­age is proof of noth­ing.

But my pri­mary ar­gu­ment de­serves to be raised again and I in­tend to do so. ac­tiv­i­ties are im­por­tant – ‘‘a busy mind is a happy mind’’.

The dis­man­tling of the um­brella of ser­vices de­vel­oped when, in the 1990s, the long stay wards at the old Porirua Psy­chi­atric Hos­pi­tal were closed and peo­ple moved into the com­mu­nity.

The wis­dom of re­plac­ing ex­pe­ri­enced hands-on ser­vices with an un­tried bro­ker­age ser­vice.

Ex­pos­ing peo­ple with men­tal health is­sues, and the low-in­come com­mu­ni­ties they gen­er­ally live in, to the ten­sions that arise from the de­lib­er­ate wind­ing down of or­gan­ised ser­vices.

In the 1990s, when the longstay wards at Porirua Hos­pi­tal closed, the health au­thor­i­ties ne­go­ti­ated with the af­fected lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and funded the full mix of ser­vices re­quired.

The cur­rent Cap­i­tal & Coast Dis­trict Health Board changes dis­man­tle much of that in­fra­struc­ture, leav­ing men­tal health con­sumers and their fam­i­lies ex­posed.

Whether the health board con­cern to re­duce the num­ber of non-gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion con­tracts is valid is not for us to say. How­ever, we fear vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple are at risk.

In the end it will be the court of pub­lic opin­ion that will de­cide the mer­its of th­ese changes. TED GALLEN Sec­re­tary Mana Re­cov­ery Trust board

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