1 May 2020

Road rage rampage was a hate crime, Court of Appeal rules

3:40 pm on 1 May 2020

A man who targeted an Asian family in a road rage rampage will have to spend more time behind bars, after the Court of Appeal ruled his actions constituted a hate crime.

Convicted over road rage incident towards Chinese NZ family

Photo: RNZ/ Anneke Smith

Fraser Milne was jailed for two and a half years for chasing a Chinese-New Zealand family through Awhitu Peninsula, causing their vehicle to flip onto its roof, in March 2018.

Two children in the car had taken off their seatbelts out of fear they made need to quickly escape when Milne first approached their car with his pitbull dog, swearing and shouting his dog would eat them.

All five passengers were hospitalised and the youngest child had a skull fracture, scalp laceration, small subdural hematoma and significant grazing over their body.

Milne pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and four charges of injuring with reckless disregard for safety in the High Court last year.

At sentencing, Justice Fitzgerald said while the man had made "abhorrent" racial slurs after the attack she found it was not racially motivated.

But the Crown challenged that in the Court of Appeal, and at a hearing earlier this year, lawyers argued that Justice Fitzgerald's sentence was inadequate and she should have taken Milne's racial hostility into account.

In its decision, released today, the Court of Appeal ruled that Milne's offending did constitute a hate crime.

He must now spend four years and nine months in prison.