The lawyer for hit-and-run driver Rouxle Le Roux says people who signed the petition against her client didn’t know the facts.
Le Roux, 19, has become a nationally reviled figure since she was sentenced 11 months' home detention after hitting and killing 15-year-old cyclist Nathan Kraatskow.
Belinda Sellars, lawyer for Le Roux, told RadioLIVE on Wednesday that many New Zealanders do not understand the full circumstances of the conviction.
We all make mistakes and she will live with that for the rest of her life.
Kraatskow was hit as he was riding his bike through an Albany intersection in May. Le Roux, a learner driver, had consumed wine and cannabis earlier that day and failed to stop.
Kraatskow died at the scene.
Insensitive posts on her Instagram surfaced after the sentencing and a petition asking the Crown to appeal her sentence reached 140,000 signatures.
On Thursday, Crown Law said the sentence was "appropriate" and there is no basis for an appeal, sparking further outrage among those who want to see Le Roux face a harsher sentence.
The National Party even weighed in on the sentence, arguing that Le Roux's sentence shows that New Zealand needs to be tougher on crime.
But Ms Sellars said many people had become emotionally invested in the case without knowing all the details, such as the fact that Kraatskow rode through a red light while her client was going through a green.
"We need to take a step back and understand why we have the justice system. And that's to stop mob mentality of people who don’t know all of the facts thinking they know better."
While she admits her client was speeding and had consumed intoxicants, she says Le Roux couldn't see Kraatskow when he crossed her path.
"If you know the full facts about the case and about Rouxle, you start to understand that in all the circumstances, it's a reasonable sentence," she told RadioLIVE.
"We all make mistakes and she will live with that for the rest of her life."