We share their disbelief. Popo is a career criminal, and a violent thug at that. He was only three months out of prison when he killed Sgt Wootton. He had previously been charged with a gang-related manslaughter, but got off when a key witness refused to testify. And Popo is a member of the Mongrel Mob.
The sentence of eight years and nine months' prison handed to the killer of police officer Derek Wootton was met with disbelief by his family today.
"I'm disgusted with the sentence. I guess it's not the right thing to say, but my brother's life is obviously very, very cheap," his younger brother, and fellow officer, Dave Wootton said outside the courtroom.
Derek Wootton was laying road spikes in Titahi Bay last July when Mongrel Mob member Andrew Popo struck him in a stolen car. He was fleeing police at the time.
Popo, 33, pleaded guilty last month to the manslaughter of the 53-year-old officer.
His sentence in Wellington's High Court today carried a non-parole period of five years and he was banned from driving for 10 years.
"I'm sorry, I just have no faith in the system," Dave Wootton said afterwards.
The sentence imposed today is, to use legal jargon, manifestly inadequate. But here's the bit that really got our goat (our emphasis added):
Justice MacKenzie said the incident was one of the worst examples of vehicle-related manslaughter he had seen and it was a "significant aggravating factor" that Mr Wootton had been an officer acting in the course of his duties at the time.
He said a starting point of 12 years was appropriate, plus nine months assaulting the car driver, but gave Popo a four-year discount for his early guilty plea.
A third of the sentence as a discount for an early guilty plea? Pardon the language, but that is complete and utter bullshit! Little wonder, as Garth George opined this morning, that this country is on a fast track to anarchy. The law, in this instance, is indeed an ass in our humble opinion.