5 Aug 2015

Car surfer: 'I was just in the moment'

1:37 pm on 5 August 2015

A man who car surfed on top of a taxi on Auckland's Harbour Bridge is found guilty of criminal nuisance.

Johnny Bennett was found guilty of criminal nuisance for car-surfing over the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Johnny Bennett uploaded a video of the car surfing incident to social media. Photo: Instagram / Johnny Bennett

A drunk Johnny Bennett climbed on to the roof of a taxi as it travelled over the bridge in March 2013, while one of his friends filmed the stunt.

The video was then uploaded to social media by Mr Bennett - now dubbed Johnny Danger - who said he regretted the decision, but had hoped it would spark his career as a stuntman.

"I was just in the moment," he told Radio New Zealand after the verdict. "You don't really think when you're in the moment. I've got a few opportunities coming up this summer - I've actually started surfing as well, I wasn't a surfer before that."

Judge Lawrence Hinton said it was self evident the act was foolish and hazardous, and that Mr Bennett was reckless about his own safety, as well as that of the other taxi passengers, the driver and members of the public.

Mr Bennett's lawyer had argued that the only person put in any danger was his client, but Judge Hinton found Mr Bennett guilty of criminal nuisance.

"This was a wholly hazardous act which placed others at risk. I have found that you were reckless as to the consequences for members of the public."

During the judge-alone trial in May, Chirag Kharbanda - the taxi driver who picked up Mr Bennett and two friends - said he was shocked by the incident, but that he didn't kick the men out of his car because there was nowhere to pull over, he wanted the fare, worth over $100, and he was worried the men might become aggressive.

But later, under cross-examination, he conceded that he may have had a beer with the men when he dropped them off.

Mr Bennett will be sentenced on 9 September.