Rampage blamed on game obsession
“Reid [the offender] was hardwired for violence and anti-social behaviour and programmed by his recreational pursuits” [involving the game Grand Theft Auto].
The Dominion Post Saturday, 31 May 2008
Like a character from Grand Theft Auto, the game he played compulsively, Tim Reid went on a rampage, stole a police car, and left a policeman unconscious and bleeding on the roadside.
Yesterday, his lawyer Chris Nicholls said Reid was remorseful for what happened to Sergeant Kevin Wellington in New Plymouth on December 29 last year, but he was a product of his upbringing.
He committed violent offences and compulsively played Grand Theft Auto.
Mr Nicholls said a video game that showed violence toward police was a public safety concern, with the game promoting the behaviour.
Tim Henare James Junior Reid, 25, of Mt Victoria, Wellington pleaded guilty to aggravated wounding, escaping custody, reckless driving, dangerous driving, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and two charges of failing to stop, breach of supervision orders and being an unlicensed driver.
Mr Nicholls said Reid began smoking cannabis at five, was sexually and physically abused, and now abused drugs and alcohol. He had met his co-offender in the cells at Lower Hutt District Court, and when they were both bailed they began a road trip to New Plymouth.
Sergeant Wellington clocked their car doing 143kmh and gave chase, but Reid kept going till he crashed. Reid ran off but returned as Mr Wellington tried to talk to his co-offender. Reid pushed the officer to the ground and began hitting him. As Reid was getting into the patrol car his co-offender came up behind Mr Wellington and knocked him out. The officer was hit several more times while he was on the ground.
Reid and the other man then sped off in the patrol car, and after another chase ran through a roadblock. Even with tyres blown by road spikes they kept going till the tyres peeled off the rims.
Both were arrested when the car stopped.
Wellington District Court judge Denys Barry jailed Reid for five years and ordered him to complete a minimum non-parole period lasting two thirds of the sentence. He also disqualified him from driving for two years.
He said Reid was hardwired for violence and anti-social behaviour and programmed by his recreational pursuits.
Judge Barry said the police sergeant’s resilience and courage was in stark contrast to the cowardice of Reid’s action. Mr Wellington had healed and gone back to work, but could no longer patrol by himself.
Reid has previous convictions for aggravated wounding, robbery and assault.
Judge Barry’s concerns were backed by Family First national director Bob McCoskrie, who said violent video games were of far greater concern than violent television programmes or films. “Rather than observing the law breaker you take on the role of the lawbreaker …we think it desensitises certain people.”