© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Judge claims "worst rage I've ever seen".

Lauren Paddy

The man was sentenced to eight months of home detention after causing carnage in eastern Christchurch.

Christchurch judge Tony Crouch says a man who used his car to attack innocent victims displayed the worst case of road rage he had seen in his eleven years as a judge.

Richard Allen Clark, 47, faced one charge of assault with a weapon, five charges of reckless operation of a vehicle, one of wilful damage, and a final charge of driving with an excess breath alcohol three and a half times over the legal limit.

Clark’s lawyer, Trudi Aickin, said he had a hazed memory of the night. He was surprised to learn of the damage he had done when he sobered up, she said. He was also shocked to find out he had done over forty thousand dollars worth of damage to the vehicles, including a motorcycle, that he ran off the road.

He was sentenced to eight months of home detention, 200 hours of community work, and ordered to pay reparation for the damage his reckless driving caused. He would also be disqualified from driving for two years, effectively immediately.

In a summary of facts, Judge Crouch said the offender drove in the early hours of the evening, after the Rugby World Cup final. He had been speeding, and overtook a motorcycle before he tailgated another vehicle. The motorcyclist confronted Clark, and the offender bumped him until his rear tyre exploded and he was forced to pull over. Clark narrowly missed the motorcyclist, clipping him with the wing mirror of his vehicle.

A string of offences followed as he carried on driving through Redcliffs and eventually through Sumner. Clark continued to ram into the back of a car carrying two adults and a young child, and went on to drive alongside another vehicle with the intention of driving it off the road. The offender collided with a van, and got out of his car. The police found him a kilometre away from the crash, after he had tried to evade them on foot. He acted aggressively towards police, Crouch said.

Before Crouch sentenced Clark, he said his reluctance to co-operate with the courts and justice system meant he had to think long and hard about whether home detention would be a severe enough sentence for his crime spree. He said the margin was slim, but he believed home detention was the appropriate decision.