Thursday, March 7, 2013

New Zealand: "Road-Rage" is a Multinational Phenomenon, Defendants Sentenced

Kaylah-Maree Fern Terei, 20, of Hokitika was sentenced earlier today (March 7) in Greymouth District Court to nine months' home detention and 250 hours' community work in connection with the road-rage and aggravated robbery of two Argentine tourists on June 24.

Ms. Terei was jointly charged with Cadyn Kirt Ryan, 22, of assaulting the two South American tourists and robbing them of a laptop computer and a sum of United States currency, at Whataroa. Fortunately, the money and computer were later recovered when police arrested the pair the day of the crime.

One of the reasons that Judge Raoul Neave gave Terei a more lenient sentence because she had agreed to testify against Ryan at his trial.  Terei was a passenger in a car driven by Ryan, who took exception to the tourists' stopping their vehicle near Whataroa and subsequently attacking them.

Judge Neave said in his remarks that "These were visitors to our country, entitled to our hospitality....Instead they were met with thuggish brutality....This does no credit to our country and zero credit to you. It was a terrifying experience for visitors to New Zealand."

COMMENT: The Argentine driver had slowed up to 30kph for a stretch of road work when Ryan passed his vehicle. Later, on the open road, the tourists passed him, which enraging Ryan. The two assailants then cut off the visitors' car, whereby Terei opened the driver's door, enabling Ryan to punch the driver about the head and shoulders.

When the woman tourist got out of the car, Terei punched her in the face and then took the keys from the car and threw them into a nearby field.

Terei's two-year-old child as subsequently upset by the incident so she pulled him from the car, thrust the weeping child towards the tourist and said: "What are you going to do to fix this?"  

Terei then demanded money from their victims, taking all their cash and also the laptop, before warning the tourists not to call police.

Still enraged, Terei and Ryan shortly thereafter returned to the stunned tourists and demanded the password to the laptop.

Although the Judge sentenced Terei to home confinement for nine months and 250 hours of community service, he reminded her that another conviction for an act of violence would result in prison confinement and her being deemed ineligible for parole. 

As we have discussed previously, "road-rage" is on the rise globally, which means that foreign visitors should take steps to ensure they follow local driving protocols and avoid the escalation of an incident of "road-rage." 

Suggested approaches to avoiding physical injury stemming from an incident of "road-rage" include:

1. Avoid engaging an enraged motorist physically;

2. Remotely lock the car doors to prevent injury between motorists;

3. Copying the tag number of the assailant's vehicle (or taking a photograph of the car) or both; and

4. Promptly driving to the the nearest police station to report the full details of the incident.