Special Treatment for Transgender Athlete

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard identifes as a woman but has more in common with a boy racer given the accident he caused that has left a man with spinal injuries.

Hubbard, 41, […] was charged with careless driving causing injury […]
Her car hit a vehicle carrying an Australian couple in their 60s. The male driver spent nearly two weeks in Dunedin Hospital and needed major spinal surgery on returning to Australia.

A man sustained serious spinal injuries because of Laurel’s careless driving but the judge deemed it to be a “low-level” accident and Laurel escaped a conviction. To his credit, Laurel pleaded guilty in January this year and offered to pay the couple around $13,000.

The case could not be reported because Hubbard, represented by lawyer Fiona Guy Kidd QC, successfully applied for suppression orders at each of the five stages of the court process.[…]

At sentencing on February 4, Judge Bernadette Farnan discharged Hubbard without conviction noting she was a first offender, the low level nature of the accident, Hubbard’s remorse and the reparation payment. She disqualified her from driving for a month (the normal disqualification is six months) and ordered her to pay about $13,000 to the Australian couple.
In a rare move, the judge also suppressed Hubbard’s name until September 30, so Hubbard could train for qualifying events for the Olympics without the distress caused by social media comments responding to publicity about the charge.


This smacks of special treatment for athletes. Like the rest of us mere mortals, Laurel could have switched off social media and concentrated on training without distractions. Name suppression until sentencing is fair enough because a person may be found innocent. After that, all bets should be off.

The Australian victims of a serious crash caused by Olympic weightlifting hopeful Laurel Hubbard are appalled at what they say is a lenient penalty, and the suppression of her name.

[…] Gary, 69, spent nearly two weeks in Dunedin Hospital and needed major spinal surgery on returning to Australia. Sue had several broken ribs.
“After the operations I spent four months sitting on a couch not able to do one thing,” Gary Wells said.

Sue Wells said the accident, four days into a two week holiday, caused an “awful lot of damage”.

“The penalty and suppression were totally unjust. No notice was taken of our feelings and she (Hubbard) got everything she wanted.”

[…] The High Court this week overturned the suppression orders ending Hubbard’s nine month battle to keep her name secret.
Justice Gerald Nation said Judge Farnan had made a number of errors and Hubbard’s potential distress did not meet the legal test for suppression.
The Wells’ said they had no contact with Hubbard until receiving a letter of apology on the morning of the sentencing.
“If it had been a few months earlier it might have meant something,” Gary Wells said. 
He had expected to hear Hubbard had been disqualified from driving for at least six months and fined.
“We’re not chasing any money. It’s the inadequacy of the sentence and the suppression that upset us.”

[…] Judge Bernadette Farnan’s suppression orders were found to be wrong.
They were furious at the continued suppression of Hubbard’s name as the case went through the courts, she said.
“It was to protect her from hardship while she trained for the Olympics. What a load of crap. We couldn’t do anything for four months.”

Sunday Star Times