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Alternative sentence praised

Jul 14, 2014

from the article on

The hardline Sensible Sentencing Trust has come out in support of a judge's decision not to jail a drink-driver who killed a New Plymouth woman.

Hogan Bolton, 31, of New Plymouth, was sentenced on July 4 to nine months' home detention following the death of artist and mother Carmen Rogers after she was hit in Brougham St on May 6.

His breath alcohol was 1297mcg. The legal level is 400mcg.

As well as making a $50,000 emotional harm reparation to the family he has agreed to appear in an anti-drink driving documentary.

The sentence, worked out through the restorative justice process, has reignited debate on the futility of imprisoning offenders rather than focusing on more effective alternatives.

...Before sentencing Carmen Rogers' husband Che, his family and Bolton had met in a day-long restorative justice conference.

Che Rogers said he did not want Bolton jailed.

Rather it was agreed that Bolton be part of an anti-drink-driving documentary and also give a speech to senior Spotswood college students with Nouveau, 15, Che and Carmen Rogers' older daughter.

By sharing his story publicly and encouraging and inspiring others never to drink and drive Bolton could save other lives, Che Rogers said.

"What I want to see happen is not going to cost the taxpayer but will give a bigger and better return. Fewer people drinking and driving and fewer deaths is the ultimate outcome for me.

"I'm hoping that having him speaking and being part of the documentary will have that effect."

Going to prison would do nothing to help put things right, he said.

"This way he can feel like he's done his bit. It's not about letting him off. It's an alternative sentence which is having a bigger and more positive impact.

"And if I'm right and the impact I'm wanting does happen then I will be forgiven for going down this road."

He was pleased at the controversy the process had stimulated in the community which was putting more attention on the case and opening debate.

"Putting people in prison is not working. And I don't think I'm alone in believing the justice system is not working," he says.

Taranaki Restorative Justice Trust facilitator, trustee and lawyer Pamela Jensen, a passionate advocate for the process, is also pleased at the community debate raised by what she saw as a unique restorative justice conference.

Read the full article.

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