19 Apr 2013

Fears for motorists once repeat drink-driver released

5:43 pm on 19 April 2013

The father of a man killed by a recidivist drink-driver says he fears for the safety of other motorists once he is released from jail.

Gavin Maurice Hawthorn is serving a 10-year term for the manslaughter of Lance Fryer in a car crash in Greytown in 2003.

The Parole Board says the 50-year-old has an extensive and serious criminal record, which includes driving offences that have resulted in the deaths of four people.

Hawthorn waived his right to appear before the board on Thursday, but is due for release in June this year and is assessed as having a high risk of re-offending.

His criminal record dates back to 1979 and includes burglary, drugs and violence offences. This is his eighth term of imprisonment.

Lance Fryer's father, Gary Fryer, says he would be scared to share the road if Hawthorn gets behind the wheel again and drugs and alcohol are involved.

"You're just dead scared - you don't want to be anywhere near."

Mr Fryer says Hawthorn was disqualified from driving for 10 years, but he doesn't believe anything will stop him from driving again.

Lawyer warns against vigilante action

A prominent lawyer is warning against vigilante justice when Gavin Hawthorn is released.

Nigel Hampton, QC, a patron of the Howard League for Penal Reform, says given Hawthorn's history it would be sensible for neighbours to be aware of his presence.

However, he says they should avoid taking the law into their own hands.

Mr Hampton says not a lot can be done with this type of repeat offender.

He believes any conditions imposed by the Parole Board are likely to be ignored, and the chances of Hawthorn abiding by his disqualification from driving are also not good.