I’m not normally one to get worked up about change.org petitions. They’re a dime a dozen and generally seem to be dominated by those who get their jollies crusading for fringe causes.
But Charlene Kraatskow’s petition is compelling. A broken-hearted mother who feels betrayed by a broken justice system.
Her 15-year-old son, Nathan, was killed riding his bike, struck down by a drunk, stoned, hit and run learner driver.
Nineteen-year-old, Rouxle Le Roux, who has been sentenced to 11 months' home detention by Judge Nicola Mathers.
Yes, Nathan should have been wearing a helmet, obeyed the red light and wearing earphones with music blaring while cycling is not a smart choice. But none of that goes to the heart of that matter which prompted Le Roux to be charged and convicted with dangerous driving causing death.
Let’s be clear, this offence is far more serious than careless driving. Dangerous driving causing death carries a maximum jail penalty of 10 years. Given the multitude of associated offences she committed, when driving dangerously and causing death, it beggars belief that she avoided jail time.
Not content with drinking, having a joint, breaching her learners’, illegally carrying passengers, there’s the rather egregious matter of hitting and running. How anyone can run someone over and then flee speaks to a very depraved form of humanity.
What reasonable person could have such contemptuous disregard for another life, in such circumstances? It is beyond repugnant.
But not content with all of that, there’s her despicable antics while on bail, on Instagram. Posing in an orange prison jumpsuit, with a creepy Halloween painted face, adorned with the caption: "Hide Your Children".
Oh yes, such sick, unsavoury and sinister antics positively gush with remorse. And that wasn’t the only callous post she made on social media, making light of the tragedy.
But Judge Mathers blithely accepted her lawyer’s reassurances that Le Roux regretted making light of it, and was remorseful. What a walkover. And what a joke.
Charlene’s petition is urging Crown Law to appeal Le Roux’s hopeless sentence. We should all be insulted by this inconsequential sentence. Le Roux does deserve a stint in the can. Jumpsuit and all. This sentence is unacceptable. Abhorrent, perverse and plainly unjust.