Rampage blamed on game obsession

The Dominion Post 01 June 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….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’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.”