..With another crash in Gisborne in July claiming three more young lives after an abandoned pursuit, lawyer Deborah Manning, who’s advising the families of teens in the Hobsonville accident, says it’s time for another look at chase laws. “Really serious questions need to be asked about the number of young people dying for the relatively minor offence they committed at the beginning – and the relative predictability of that being the outcome.”
Police would have seen the Hobsonville car was full of young people – at one stage there were seven, including two in the boot of the stationwagon, but two got out at a shopping centre before the crash. “It’s a high-risk approach to be chasing a car when it’s packed full of kids.”
Manning says few chases have been challenged in the Coroner’s Court because families feel an enduring sense of shame.
“They are so disenfranchised, and when we’re talking about (injured) victims, who are the people they are most involved with in the weeks and months after a crash? The police. There’s no pulling the telescope back a bit and saying maybe the police didn’t have to chase at all.”