2 Sep 2010

Family calls for tougher laws on repeat drink-drivers

9:01 pm on 2 September 2010

The brother of a woman killed by a recidivist drink-driver is pleading for the law to be made tougher for such crimes.

Warren Jenkins was drunk and disqualified from driving when he killed Katherine Kennedy, 46, in a head-on collision near Kerikeri on 17 March this year.

The 49-year-old had been convicted 17 times previously on drink-driving charges.

Judge Emma Aitken jailed Jenkins for four years when he appeared in the Auckland District Court for sentencing on Thursday, saying it was one of the most tragic cases she had seen.

Family members told the court they wanted more to be done to keep repeat drink-drivers off the road.

Ms Kennedy's brother, Hamish Kennedy, said Jenkins is an extreme recidivist who should not have been driving.

He said the law has to be stronger, and sentences longer, so that drivers who repeatedly break the law are kept off the road.

Another brother, Chris Kennedy, says his nephew has lost his only parent and the family has been ripped off by the justice system.

Judge Aitken gave Jenkins the maximum sentence she could - five years, with a one year reduction for early guilty plea.

However, she said if the maximum term for the offence was longer, she would have sentenced him to more years in jail.