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escalating violence in our community
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Sensible Sentencing Trust
Newsletter November/December 2002 - Pre-Christmas
Help Balance the Scales of Justice
"The honeymoon is over and the hard work begins" was the advice Sir Russell Pettigrew, our Patron, gave me when we made the decision to extend the Life of Sensible Sentencing beyond the original eighteen months we had envisaged.
THANK YOU to all those PATRIOTIC New Zealanders who have supported Sensible Sentencing since our inception. The financial supporters, volunteers, letter writers, talkback radio contributors, meeting organisers and all the grass roots workers who have made what was once just a dream into a reality.
Thanks to YOU, Sensible Sentencing has now come of age. I quote from the Herald last week. "Government sources say Sensible Sentencing is the highest profile voice in the area and its views are listened to."
We have focused our attention on the "Repeat Violent Offender" and "Injustice to Victims", that was always a deliberate part of our strategy to overcome apathy and gain support from New Zealanders as we gradually built an organisation that could have constructive influence on the direction of so-called "Justice" in this Country. We have now earned our credibility, gained a certain amount of traction and feel confident to start expanding our focus into the incubator areas of violent crime. The election gave us confidence with 300,000 voters changing direction!
We will continue our pressure to ensure "Life without Parole" for repeat violent offenders, but we will start educating the politicians in the other areas that we believe are contributing to this terrible decay eating away at our society. The escalating Crime rate and Prison population is just one of the indicators of Social Policy gone wrong.
As we expand our focus beyond Justice Minister, Phil Goff, we will start to include other Ministers under our "umbrella of influence". Several Government Ministers have recently expressed their concern at the wisdom of New Zealand continuing down this "Social Dependency" road. Even Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Michael Cullen has questioned the difference of the Australian attitude of "Self Determination", as opposed to the New Zealand "What can the Government do for me", mentality. It is now becoming widely accepted that the "Politically Correct Social Experiment" of the last 30 years has been disastrous for New Zealand. The question now must be....
Does New Zealand have a Rudolph Giuliani (former mayor of New York)?
Essential Qualifications : Courage, Vision and Leadership"
Ten years ago, New York was one of the worlds' most violent cities, their Violent Crime rate is now back down to what it was in 1890. They are closing prisons and lowering taxes, as extra business comes to town.
Sensible Sentencing are promoting a policy of individual accountability and responsibility at all levels of society, with adequate Police resources to ensure the safety of law-abiding citizens.
Let the "Hard Yards Begin" ....
Merry Christmas and thank you.
Garth McVicar - National Chairman
"Until we begin to fight crime in earnest, every person who dies at a criminals' hands is a victim of our inaction"
- adapted quote from Researcher Karl Spence of Texas A+M University.
POEM - Sent to us from Judy (HB)
A rare breed they, the volunteers
Opposite to the profiteers
They give of their time, seek no return
Of public gratitude they little earn
They give their cash and talent too
Their gifts are known by very few
They rarely hear the accolades
Or ride in front of big parades
Day after day they help mankind
A better lot and life to find
The lead the young, assist the old
And yet their stories rarely told
Unlike the greedy of this earth
Who count their gold to fix their worth
The volunteers with hearts of gold
Can count their worth a million-fold
From Wendy Pedler
See Sunday Star Editorial in sidebar >>>
Congratulations must go to Justice Gendall for using his powers to the full extent of the law when sentencing Jules Mikus for the murder of Teresa Cormack. This is something Judges are not renowned for. You will detect from some of his comments taken from his sentencing report exactly where the buck stops......
"That means I cannot do other than Parliament has permitted and I am not able to impose upon you a minimum period of imprisonment of the length warrranted"...... "The fact that there has been since 1987 the introduction of minimum periods of imprisonment in the sentencing process is a variation of penalty which I am not permitted to apply to the disadvantage of an offender. So my hands are tied"..... "The minimum period of imprisonment that must be imposed accordingly in respect of the sentence of preventive detention, as Parliament has required me to do, can only be 7 years"..... "If I had the power I would have imposed a minimum term of imprisonment of such a length that the women and female children of NZ would never again be put at risk by you"........ "Release before the end of your life can only be made by the Parole Board in terms of section 28 of the Parole Act 2002, but only if it is satisfied that you will not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community".
It is a pity politicians do not use the full extent of their power to enable Judges to give people like Mikus the sentence they deserve.
AND STILL WE SAY....... WHY PAROLE ??
Mikus and others like them should never be eligible to apply for Parole. Mikus can apply for Parole in 7 years, then after that either every 1 or 3 years (depending on whether the new or old parole act applies) as the crime was committed 15 years ago. We are sure it will not be permitted to be to the disadvantage of the offender. Who knows in 7 to 14 years who will be on the Parole Board? Perhaps a few Politically Correct Liberals who believe Mikus has been rehabilitated, judges who believe longer sentences are not the answer, psychiatrists like the ones that assessed Taffy Hotene as being fit to be released. Six weeks later he brutally murdered Kylie Jones. Their track record is not good.
Why should the victimís family endure the trauma of Parole Hearings? They relive their tragedy with all the associated emotions. Havenít they been through enough? All for the benefit of the offender who chose to commit the crime - the victim was never given a choice.
Sunday Star Editorial
Chalk one up for the life-means-life team.
Tough-talking Justice Gendall sent Jules Mikus, the killer of Teresa Cormack, to prison for the rest of his days.
And the man in black wasn't buying any of the hand-wringing liberal rubbish we've come to expect when scumbags blame everyone else for their gutless actions.
"Let me disabuse you of the nonsense you talk.... you are guilty", he told Mikus, serving him to preventative detention.
Mikus had 29 different convictions on his record when he brutally ended the little girl's life in 1987.
By the time he was caught and sentenced he had 78.
Justice Gendall said since the murder Mikus had sponged off taxpayers and run up another 49 convictions.
Has Mikus learnt a lesson? You'd have to doubt it.
But let's hope a few other judges have.
POWER OF A PAROLE BOARD..... Remember that...
A High Court Judge and Jury sentenced Gay Oakes to a life sentence with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years for poisoning, suffocating and burying her husband in the backyard. The Parole Board has recently seen fit to reduce her non-parole period and release her after serving only 8 years of her 10 year non-parole sentence because of her contribution to Prison life....
We wonder what reasons they will find to release Mikus?
Did you hear about.......
The 16 year old Auckland youth who verbally abused a police youth education officer who was visiting a school. The youth resisted being taken to the principal, so the officer used tis handcuffs. The consequences were that the youth was paid $15,000 so civil proceedings against the police were withdrawn. The youth then committed a burglary and was questioned by another police officer and his response was "Iíll sue you too, if you touch me." He was discharged without conviction after apologising to the burglary victim......
Needless to say another good police officer resigned due to "politically correct" madness and yet another youth is encouraged into a life of crime. Certainly easier than working and paying off a student loan wouldnít you say?
The notorious Whangarei criminal who had $10,000 of his fines wiped by Judge Robert Kerr in exchange for a few hours in the Whangarei Courthouse cell. He failed to complete a 400 hour community work sentence which Judge Tompkins had previously sentenced him to on the understanding $4000 worth of fines would be remitted if the work was completed. He ignored the Court order. While in court that manís outstanding fines of $9980 were highlighted. Judge Kerr then sentenced him to the afternoon in the Courthouse cells and wiped the fines and community work. It was understood the man has more than 40 criminal convictions, including aggravated robbery, assault, threatening behaviour, injuring with intent, fraud, resisting arrest, possession of cannabis, fighting and burglary.....
$10,000 for 4 hours in a Court cell = $2,500 per hour. How much do you earn per hour?
Perhaps a Law needs to be passed for Commonsense, Accountability and Responsibility !!!
If these stories bothered you, there is something you can do about it. Write letters to you paper. Write or phone your local Member of Parliament and question them and ask for answers. Hold them accountable. Remember you pay their wages - they work for you! Something a lot of them seem to forget....
The two main events in Auckland over recent months have been the public meeting held at Pakuranga in June and the public march up Queen Street. The meeting was a great success with excellent speakers and close to 400 people attending. We received many new members and the meeting was widely discussed in local newspapers. The march too was a big success with very enthusiastic participation and good television coverage.
The sentencing of the killers of Michael Choy was of major interest and I'm sure everyone has read the reports. With a maximum time to be served over the seven offenders standing at 11 years, one would have to wonder what became of the much-vaunted increased minimum parole periods. A car boot sale in October at Pakuranga raised a good amount of money for the Trust and it is hoped to hold another such sale some time in the future.
Susan Slater has been talking to Rotary and Lions groups and Lyn Gautier has been liaising with the RSA to make a speaking tour through their various clubs. Lyn has also been working on a proposal to speak to secondary school children wherever this may be permitted.
Graeme and Lynda Casey have presented the Trust with a superb photo-copier and this is located at Lyn Gautier's house if anyone should need to do copying - it has already been put to very good use many times We are very grateful to Lynda and Graeme for the machine and for the paper they so kindly provided also.
HAVE YOUR SAY !!!
Auckland area members will be invited to a workshop Conference to be held early next year. We want your Contribution. All members will receive a personal invite.
Seasons Greetings from Lynn,Sue and the Auckland Team.
Hello everyone, where has the year gone. It's that time again when we are all stressing as Christmas approaches. For most of us we stress over making the cake, buying the right gifts etc. But for one Southland family Dawn and Bevan Smith and their son Rhiane from Owaka the lead up to Christmas has an added stress most us will never have to endure.
In 1991 their 15-year-old daughter, Kylie, was abducted, raped and executed by Paul Bailey who at the time was already out on bail for an attempted rape. Last year, which was his first parole hearing, SST played a small part in having his application for freedom turned down. I am asking SST members once again to write to the Parole Board and point out that Bailey comes under the category of violent offenders that should never be released.
Last year the Parole Board said, quote, "Offenders such as Paul Bailey serving life imprisonment may be declined parole at each opportunity for the rest of their natural lives if appropriate". In this case it is definitely appropriate; Paul Bailey is very dangerous. Last year Dawn and Bevan decided to put up a Christmas tree, their first in 10 years.
This was symbolic in at last being able to move forward. Lets hope they can all enjoy a tree again this year. I will be with them once again on the 5th of December at their second Parole hearing and I know everyone else will be praying once again for justice to be done. Good Luck Dawn, Bevan and family.
Also very briefly Christchurch also succeeded in getting our very own Marc Alexander into parliament as Justice Spoksperson for United Future. Marc is a very staunch supporter of SST, so look out Marc. We will be expecting something positive from you and more Justice for Victims. I will be there to constantly remind you of your responsibilities.
Seasons Greetings from Sue and the Team in Christchurch.
Although a miserable cold wet day, it was with passion and determination that over 600 people marched to parliament in the memory of N.Z's Murder Victims.
It was totally disappointing that parents and families of Victims were made to stand outside in the driving rain. However the feedback was really good and the weather was irrelevant to all the families involved. On June 9th the Branch held a Public Meeting in Lower Hutt, there was a good attendance. Along with SST executive, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait and Greg O'Connor (Police Association) were our guest speakers. Members of Parliament were also present.
Our Branch of SST was asked to Host "Meet the Candidates" meeting in Lower Hutt prior to elections. It went very welt with some good debate. Members were present at the Mikus sentencing at the High Court in Wellington a few weeks back, we had our banner set-up outside the Court. Another cold windy day but there was a good presence.
We would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and look forward to continuing next year. From the Wellington Team....
We have formed a Hawkes Bay Committee to enable a National Board to be established. This will ease the pressure off Garth and others to enable them to concentrate solely on National issues. We now desperately need more helpers. If any Hawkes Bay people would like to become more actively involved please give me a call. We would really welcome your involvement as we have lost several key people to the National Board. We wish to kindly thank alt the Hawkes Bay and Wellington members who so generously responded to our Teresa Cormack and Jules Mikus flyer. Your support certainly gives us the encouragement we need to keep fighting for Justice. Thank you.
At Present we are collecting items from anyone who has something to give away for a garage sale, which we will hold in Feb-March. If you have any saleable items please contact Les (06) 8437285 or Dick (06)8778680, we will contact you for details and arrange pick up.
Merry Christmas to you all, Les and the Hawkes Bay Team.
"Come on you unbelievers, move out of the way; there Is a new army coming and we are armed with Faith" (Lyrics from our new SST theme song - Life Uncommon, Jewel)
An extremely productive Annual General Meeting in Taupo on the 16th and 17th Nov saw us produce our new direction for 2003 to 2006 after 6 hours of brainstorming in a SWOT.Vision/Mission workshop. It was exciting for Garth, Anne and myself who attended the original workshop 18 months ago at the formation of the trust, to see just how far we have come and the enormous amount that has been achieved.
At present we are finalizing the re-election of Trustees. Other Trust positions Elected were: National Chairman and Spokesman: Garth Mc Vicar, National Ambassador for Victims; Rita Croskery, National Secretatry: Wendy Pedler, National Treasurer & Assistant Chair and Spokesperson: Louise Parsons Newsletter Editor; Anne Mc Vicar, National Branch coordinator; Les Sutton, National Webmaster; Peter Jenkins. We also had the formation of the board who will attend to the day to day decision making and planning. They are: Garth McVicar, Anne McVicar, Louise Parsons, Wendy Pedler.
The board will meet weekly in the SST offices and with our first very productive meeting under our belt 5 days after the AGM being a reflection of Sir Russell's advice; the honeymoon is over now the hard work begins. The board meetings help us to achieve our aim to be even more productive and vocal than we have ever been. Our new Vision/Mission statements are in the process of being fine tuned and will be published along with our goals in the New Year.
The AGM proved to me, that when it is all boiled down, we are not asking for much to insist on living in a Safe Country. Its just that next year, we plan to ask a lot louder than ever before!
After committing three horrific crimes on two women and myself, my attacker was to come up against our justice system. He already had a history of vicious offending and now had these three to add to his record. When asked why he had done this, his reply was, because he wanted to get back inside!
He already had a long list of convictions but the Judge in sentencing him, was and as far as I am concerned more interested in the feelings of the criminal than that of the victims. The Police had asked that because of his history they would have liked to see him receive Preventative Detention. The Judge however did not agree and stated that it was unfair to impose such as sentence on him, firstly because of his young age (21) and because, IT WAS NOT PLAINLY APPARAENT THAT HE WOULD OFFEND IN A SEXUAL MANNER AGAIN!!
How much more plainly apparent did he need it? He was out on parole when he attacked the three of us and the reason he had been in prison was because of a sexual assault on an elderly women. Here he was being charged with 3 aggravated robberies, 2 counts of attempted rape and another charge of rape and a few other charges. Now I say, how much more plainly apparent do you need it?
The Police never got what they asked for and he was sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison. Knowing that he would never serve the 12 years I wrote a letter to the editor of my local newspaper to express my feelings as to what would happen when he was free to walk the streets again. From this they did a front page story so I could express how I felt about his inevitable release and what very little I could do to stop it.
I could write to express my views to the Parole Board but the criminal was allowed to read my letter. I could kick up a fuss but it would all be in vain because he had served two thirds of his sentence so was entitled to be released. I was fighting a losing battle because in this country the Justice System is in favour of the criminal and the victim is left behind. I warned that when he would be released on parole it would only be a matter of time before we hear about another vicious rape or aggravated robbery. Sadly I was only partly right. This time he would inflict far more pain. Pain that will never go away.
On June 7th 2000, we were to hear on the news that a young journalist from Auckland Kylie Jones, had been very viciously murdered on her way home from work the night before.
The moment I heard it I turned to my mother and said "itís him he did it". Somehow I just knew. Almost a week later they arrested a man and I waited with anticipation for a description of him to come over the news. Shock horror, it would fit my attacker from eight years before.
I had said all along what would happen, but nobody would listen. I felt totally sick and I broke down. I felt so helpless. Like I was in a way to blame for her death, because I hadnít done enough. I hadnít stopped him being released on parole. In time though I came to realize it wasnít my fault. I hadnít let her or her family down. It was our pathetic Justice system once again.
At the time I am writing this it is coming up two years since the murder. I often think about her and the connection we have. I will never meet her but feel close to her. I am however expecting to meet her family very soon, which will no doubt be a very emotional time but will also be, I hope a time for Healing.
Sadly I can never change what was done to this lovely young women, whoís life was taken so bitterly, but I hope by doing this, someone will listen and change our parole laws. (Abridged).
Violence in our society is becoming a daily event. Many people want to do something to bring normality back to our lives. The only group that I am aware of that is building up a reputation for being able to achieve those aims is the SENSIBLE SENTENCING TRUST. Because of the many thousands of members that our spokespeople represent when speaking to Politicians, they are listened to.
The number of amended Law and Order changes already made, prove that pressure from the Public through our spokespeople is working.
Although it may seem callous to approach people in the area when one of those major criminal events takes place, I believe that many folk are looking for an avenue to vent their horror, anger at the time. In my opinion an explanation of our aims and objectives would assist those people to find the avenue that they are seeking.
We are looking for VOLUNTEERS who have the time and willingness to act as local contacts in ALL AREAS OF NZ. The object of this is to have someone who will act immediately a major violent crime takes place. We envisage volunteers setting up a table in busy areas to promote our cause and distribute SST information.
A small sign and some stories would encourage people to support our cause. I am sure a local Radio Station would advertise the fact that "self motivated" local people are backing a National organisation in the fight against violent crime. We will ensure those willing volunteers get a supply of our mission statement and membership applications.
Please don't leave it to someone else to do it. If you have the time and willingness to offer your assistance in any area, please write or email
Les Sutton, c/o P.O.Box 701, NAPIER
You will have read in this Newsletter of the progress we have been able to achieve by exerting pressure on Parliamentarians of all Political Parties.
These activities have come at a financial cost that has not been met by subscriptions and donations. All expenses incurred by the Sensible Sentencing Committee have been funded from their own pockets and everybody who works for the organisation pays their own expenses.
All membership/funds go towards furthering the aims of the organisation by way of printing, advertising and maintaining the National Office.
in order for the Trust to become self-sufficient and take it to yet another level, we need you and like-minded people, to renew their subscriptions, and to sign up another household where possible.
If every member signed up one additional household, our funds would be at a more sustainable level, and ensure that we remain a viable body.
We need help to continue the fight on your behalf to ensure people like MIKUS are not given the opportunity to prey on our families again.
The only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good Men and Women to do nothing.
YOUR GENEROSITY HELPS US TO CONTINUE TO BALANCE THE SCALES OF JUSTICE
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