‘Worst case of road rage’ – Judge

Car-front-blueA 47-year-old man was told his actions were the worst case of road rage a judge had seen in his 11 years on the bench at the Christchurch District Court.

Judge Tony Couch said Richard Allan Clark was totally out of control when he rammed cars and a motorbike on November 1.

Defence counsel Trudi Aickin said Clark turned up for a restorative justice meeting but none of the victims came to it. Clark had written apology letters to his victims, and was remorseful, but had a sketchy memory of what happened and was shocked at what he was told he had done, she said.

She said he wanted to reinstate his business as a painter which had been on hold while he was on electronically monitored bail.

Judge Couch said he was sentencing Clark on eight charges, one of assault with a weapon, five of reckless operation of a motor vehicle, one of wilful damage, and one of drink-driving – all relating to the same day.

He said Clark was driving drunk on Dyers Pass Road when he overtook a motorbike at excessive speed. He tailgated another car, and the bike rider pulled up beside him and had words with him. He pulled in front of Clark who started ramming him with his car. He eventually punctured one of the bike’s tyres, and when the driver stopped he drove at the driver, then rammed the bike three more times.

Clark got out of the car and advanced on the victim, but a passing motorist tried to calm him down. Clark got back in his car and drove at the man’s car, damaging his wing mirror before ramming into the bike again.

Clark then drove towards Sumner and rammed another car from behind in Redcliffs. He came up beside another car and side-swiped it twice. This car was pushed to the side of the road where it crashed in to a parked car, and Clark’s car lost control and hit another parked car.

Clark left his car and ran, and when the police caught up with him he was aggressive to them.

Judge Couch said Clark’s deliberate actions caused injury to some of his victims, and it had all followed a day of heavy drinking.

He said he doubted Clark’s sincerity that he was remorseful and he was still trying to blame some of his victims, but they were totally blameless.

He sentenced Clark to eight months’ home detention, 200 hours community work, disqualified him from driving for two years, and ordered him to pay reparation of over $27,000.

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