LISTEN TO BELINDA SELLARS TALK WITH LARRY WILLIAMS ABOVE
The lawyer of the young woman who killed a 15-year-old in a hit and run says her client is feeling sick about a petition calling for her to get a tougher sentence.
Rouxle Le Roux was sentenced to 11 months home detention after killing Nathan Kraatskow at an Auckland intersection.
She fled the scene and did not report the incident for 16 hours.
A petition, started by Kraatskow's parents, with more than 140,000 signatures was delivered to Parliament.
Le Roux's lawyer Belinda Sellars told Larry Williams in a fiery interview the wave of public backlash has been frightening for her client.
"On Saturday night there were people outside her house screaming they want to kill her. She has had death threats as well. So far she has been at home to terrified to do anything. She is a 19-year-old under a lot of stress."
Part of the public reaction has come over an apparent lack of remorse from Le Roux, who posted photos on social media that showed her in a prison jumpsuit writing 'Hide your kids'.
Sellers says that Le Roux was not thinking about the case when she posted the post.
She says that her client is under a lot of stress.
Sellers believes the public have been quick jumping to conclusions but based on inaccurate information.
"No one seems to have picked up the fact that the victim was crossing the road on a red light."
Sellers says that Le Roux wanted to stop but was pressured by her friends.
She says that people are also calling Le Roux a young woman when she is in fact 19.
"She didn't mean to do it," Sellers insists, after Larry Williams fired back over her dismissal of it being an accident.
Judge Nicola Mathers recognised Le Roux's young age, her clean record and her early guilty plea when sentencing her.
When posed by Larry that the sentence was not very tough, Sellers says that the judge does have to impose the least restrictive sentence.
"Where does this come from that jail is the answer?"
Sellers insists that this incident was an accident, though admitted that Le Roux should not have been behind the wheel.
"She shouldn't of been behind the wheel, but at the end of the day when you look at other dangerous driving cases, hers was at the lower end of the scale."
However, she says that Kraatskow should not have been on the road at the same time either.
"This comes down to a society which thinks throwing people in prison is the answer to everything. This is a knee-jerk reaction which has been sparked by a lot of noise on social media.
"People are getting wound up without knowing the truth about the case and Le Roux. Contrary to the rumours, my client didn't get a lesser sentence because of her privilege and she did actually have a tough upbringing."
LISTEN ABOVE AS BELINDA SELLARS SPEAKS TO LARRY WILLIAMS