‘Unsafe’: Advocate slams repeat drink-driver’s home detention sentence

The AM Show 21/11/2018

Six months of home detention for a recidivist drink driver will fail to keep people on the road with him safe, says a victim advocate.

Gavin Hawthorn, 56, was sentenced to six months' home detention, 180 hours' community service and disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence for two years.

He has more than 60 convictions, which also include for burglary, assault, disorderly behaviour and possession of cannabis.

Twelve of the convictions are for drunk driving and four people have been killed in crashes when he was driving.

Victim advocate Ruth Money told The AM Show it's clear the current system is not working and the public is now at risk because of it.

"Give us time to get him the mental health, the alcohol and drug rehabilitation that he needs, but keep us safe," she said.

Gavin Hawthorn. Photo: Newshub.

"Six months is not going to do that."

Ms Money believes something new does need to be done, as it's clear what has been applied after Hawthorn's previous convictions had not worked.

"Let's get smart about what we can do to protect the public and to help that guy not kill anybody else, he's killed four people," she said.

According to Ms Money the sentence shows a clear disconnect between the judge's decision and public opinion, which judges are supposed to take into account.

"This sentence is ridiculous and far from what the public would expect and that's what the judiciary's job is to do, they have to sentence within public opinion and they haven't," she said.

But she believes it's unlikely the sentence would change due to the costs associated with appealing it.

"If the Crown or police want to appeal a sentence or a decision, that costs money, so that comes out of their budget so they're really hesitant to do that," she said.

"It's a very difficult process and it shouldn't be so."

Watch the full interview with Ruth Money above.

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