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escalating violence in our community
Become a member of the
Sensible Sentencing Trust
Picture: Garth McVicar
The first stage of our campaign is on track. Parole is being denied to many habitual criminals and most are now being sentenced for longer periods, as the bulging prison population indicates.
Many failed social policies are now being exposed for the sham they are and the Government is doing a U-turn in many of these areas.
Our vision of a "Safe New Zealand" through the introduction of policies of individual accountability and responsibility, was just a dream three years ago. That vision is now attainable.... but.... the public awareness and debate will need to be maintained if we are to succeed. We have a number of strategies planned to ensure this happens.
Newsletter No : 12, December 2004
Seven year old mourns murdered grandad
Nats target career criminals
New Trust for families of murder victims
M.P. on Parole and is Apathy a Crime?
"In the dead of the night"
"A sensible Gift"
Our last newsletter talked about Tai Hobson taking the Crown to court for the non-existent management of the man who murdered his wife. William Bell was on parole when he brutally murdered Mary Hobson and two others at the Mt Wellington RSA. Bell also left Susan Couch seriously injured, fighting for her life.
Since that newsletter the Crown has succeeded in having the case struck out, Tai must now go to the Court of Appeal to try and get justice for Mary and the others who lost their lives. This is now being done at considerable cost to all involved, as we go to print.
Tai's application for Legal Aid has not been approved.
It is absolutely ludicrous that a bunch of criminals who have murdered, raped and pillaged can be granted Legal Aid to sue the Crown and be granted compensation while a real victim is denied not only Legal Aid but also his day in Court.
The RSA case will grind it's way painfully through the Court process, but Tai in the meantime has lodged a complaint with the Human rights Commission on the basis that he has been denied "access to fair, inexpensive and accessible justice". The New Zealand Government is co-sponsor to a United Nations declaration guaranteeing access to affordable justice to all our citizens!
There is every possibility that this case will eventually end up before the Human Rights Court in Geneva to expose the dreadful and shoddy way New Zealand blatantly ignores "Human Rights" when it comes to victims of Violent Crime.
The human rights/ civil liberties movement in New Zealand has been hijacked and ridiculed by the High court awarding compensation to our most vile and vicious criminals.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust is fundraising to assist the victims's families involved to take Court action to stop these payments.
Donations can be made to : Sensible Sentencing Trust, PO Box 701, Napier
Once again we would like to thank all our members for continuing to support us.
National Office : PO Box 701 NAPIER Phone (06) 835 5521 Fax (06) 835 5520 National Chairman : Garth McVicar (027) 248 7919
On the evening of Friday, May 2, 1997, Ian Comrie was working at the Castlecliff Hotel as the bottle store manager.
On that fateful evening Michael Anthony Hera Manihera "chose" to go to jail. He made a "choice" as to how he would spend the next decade of his life. He had "chosen" to, for his own selfish reasons, hold up and rob the bottle store. Apparently the takeaway bar next door was Manihera's original target but it was too busy for the opportunity to arise. Therefore, the next target became Ian's workplace. This was a calculated event.
Manihera and his younger accomplice waited for the right time and then they "chose" to hold up and rob the bottle store. Ian gave Manihera the money and agreed to Manihera's terms but still after all that Manihera "chose" to stab Ian repeatedly with a boning knife. Manihera had no regards for the Human Rights of Ian Comrie, he gave no regard for Ian being a good citizen who did what was right, did not live a life of crime, who did not provoke Manihera in any way.
Ian was known to many people as the "perfect gentleman", he was a father and grandfather, who you would never hear raise his voice let alone become aggressive.
This act of excessive malice has left a family shattered. Ian's children and grandchildren along with his many friends are still to this day shocked by the event and are now sickened by the thought that Manihera thought jail could be a pleasant place. Well jail isn't a pleasant place and nor should it be. He is there for a reason, a very, very real reason.
The family is shocked that Manihera has claimed that his Human Rights have been limited while he "chose" to be in jail. If there is a problem with the Department of Corrections programme, then the system should be held responsible and checks and balances created and upheld. No money should be given to a person who "chose" to put himself in jail.
At least Manihera has a life to complain about, but his life, however hard, sounds like paradise compared to that of Ian's.
By Cody "Ian" Comrie, 27 October 2004
for school homework about "someone special"
No parole for violent and repeat offenders. DNA everyone on arrest. Confiscate gang assets. More police. That's part of Dr Brash's remedy for crime.
Following on from his Orewa plan to end race-based policies and special treatment for one group of New Zealanders over all others, Dr Brash has outlined National's attack on crime.
While early intervention is the best long-term investment, Dr Brash told the Sensible Sentencing Trust earlier this year that we must take action against those who threaten families and their property now.
National will target career criminals, those offenders who are in and out of jail: the 10 percent who do 90 percent of the crime in our community.
Abolish parole so violent and careere criminals will serve their full sentence in jail.
If they are given five years in prison, then they will do five years in prison.
National will end Labour's parole at 33 percent of the sentence.
The law was changed two years ago, so that a rapist sentenced to nine years in jail can be out after only three years!
After release, prisoners will be subject to intensive supervision and surveillance.
What do criminals learn from prison? Well you'd have to say not much. Forty percent of released prisoners will reoffend within 12 months of release, 55 percent within two years and 86 percent will reoffend within five years (Department of Corrections Annual Report 2003)
It comes as no surprise that letting violent and repeat offenders out of prison and putting them on the streets on parole or automatic release results in countless murders, rapes, assaults and burglaries, as described by Dilulio J, "Criminals and Getting Truth-In-Sentencing Laws", Heritage Foundation (1995). Not one Minister will justify Labour's policy of qualifying for parole at 33 percent of the sentence. That's because it is indefensible.
Who can justify a judge giving a sentence, and then another government body cutting that sentence by 66 percent and letting the offender out? Is that fair on the victim?
National will not ask police officers to put their lives at risk to arrest dangerous criminals just to have them go through a revolving door prison system.
The closer you look, the clearer it becomes that a huge part of crime in this country come from slack parole policies. William Duane Bell could have been stopped if his parole had been administered properly.
People have the wrong idea about parole. They think it means intensive supervision and surveillance. It doesn't. It amounts to not much more than weekly contact between the parolee and their parole officer, reducing quickly to monthly contact. That doesn't sound much like crime prevention. It should be abolished.
As Dr Brash said in his major speech the one certainty for most inmates is that they will be released. While it may seem the natural state of an ex-prisoner is to be likely to reoffend, more must be done to prevent this.
We want to see more emphasis placed on work and study as rehabilitation. Creating regular work patterns and the appreciation of work will give inmates greater capacity upon their eventual release. And there's no need here to recite the plethora of health and psychological problems that the prison population shares.
We must do more to reintegrate inmates back into the community. Research shows the need to address individual housing, employment, family and other issues some months before release. Then we need to maintain contact, support and care after that time. (Sherman L, "Preventing Crime" Office of Justice Programs 1997)
We won't need many - if any - extra prisons as we will make prison less "pleasant" by expecting prisoners to work and to share cells.
Crime in the US has plummeted since they started keeping career criminals in jail for the full length of their sentence.
To read Dr Brash's speech to the Sensible Sentencing Trust see www.national.org.nz or call the Electorate Office for a copy.
--- BY THE HON TONY RYALL
National Law and Order spokesperson - former Justice Minister
On October 9th and 10th a weekedn conference was held by the Sensible Sentencing Trust which was attended by more than 70 people who represented families of victims of 30 of this country's most horrific murders. At the conference the formation of the new "Red Raincoat NZ Trust" was announced. This Trust has been established as a seperate entity from Sensible Sentencing Trust for the purpose of supporting families of Homicide victims. The purpose of the conference was to find out from the families where the existing system failed them and how this could be improved.
Sir Russell and Lady Pettigrew attended the weekend conference. Lady Pettigrew is a Trustee of the new Trust. Patrons of the Trust include Kelly Pigott, Rita Croskery, Bevan and Dawn Smith and Val Hargreaves, who have all lost children to murder.
Speakers included Martha Jabour, Homicide Victims Support Group (Australia), NZ Police, Victim Support, and the Parole Board. The Trust hopes to have the support of all organisations, services and agencies dealing with such crimes to try and reduce the trauma these victims continually suffer when dealing with the bureaucracy that inevitably follows a murder. A commitment was made with Wendy Ball from the Parole Board to help form a task force to liase with services such as the Police, Courts, Prison, Parole and Mental Health to sort out the major systemic problems which cause secondary victimisation for the families. Family members present also included victims of prisoners who have recently received compensation awards.
The general consensus from the meeting was that our Criminal Justice system fails families devastated by such crime and gives murderers greater rights than the families of the people they have murdered. The Red Raincoat Trust is in the initial stages of development and will mirror itself on the NSW Homicide Support Group, which has acheived great success in providing a better service to support victims of homicide.
"Back in 1987 there was very little in the way of support in an official capacity for the victims of these heinous crimes. It was clear that very little has changed in the 17 years since my daughter Teresa was abducted and murdered. It was heart wrenching to be in the company of those lovely people who have had theri lives shattered by unthinking, unfeeling criminals."
"The need of a strong support network, emotional as well as financial is very obvious and necessary. It is the intention of Red Raincoat to provide assistance and it has my fulll support. I look forward to working within Red Raincoat to help provide the support so desperately needed by these people."
--- Ross Cormack
(Father of 6-year-old Teresa murdered by Jules Mikus )
"The time spent with families who have been through the same tragedy was very emotional for me. I came away from a very informative weekend feeling shattered by the pain and anger caused by our Justice System to people that don't deserve any more hurt. To hear about the forming of the "Red Raincoat NZ Trust" was the highlight. I will endeavour to support the Trust in any way I can."
--- Val Hargreaves
(Mother of Jenni murdered by Shane Hoko 2001 )
"Having experienced first hand the trauma and difficulties I faced, whilst dealing with the unbearable grief and pain at the loss of my beloved son to murder, I feel sure it would have been a comfort to me to have support from someone who had suffered a similar situation. to be a friend, to support and share with others who can fully understand because they have also walked the walk."
--- Rita Croskery
(Mother of Michael Choy murdered by group of youths 2001)
Symbol of vulnerability
Dedication to innocent who have lost their lives to murder.
Raincoat and Gumboots :
Shelter from the storm; protection for the family
Anyone of us could be in their situation - no one can protect themselves or their family from such a tragedy.
Words of all victims :
"I never thought it would happen to me".
The services the Trust will be able to offer will largely depend on funding. If you can help and wish to make a donation towards this worthy and desperately needed cause, please post to ;
Red Raincoat Trust
P.O. Box 1088
Marc Alexander MP writes :
Few issues raise the hackles of the public in law and order terms as much as the seemingly failed "experiment" of parole. Those who support the current practice of a probationary system are an endangered species.
Recently there have been numerous calls to either amend or abolish the provision of parole in our criminal justice system. Both views are predicated on two key points: the dismal enforcement of parole conditions, and the inherent injustice of sentences being cut (by as much as two thirds!) thus by implication diminishing the culpability of the offender in reducing the "price" paid for the crime.
The first point can be addressed through beefing up monitoring regimes and imposing accountability procedures on both inmates (where they fail to meet parole provisions) and case managers (where they fail to do their jobs adequately). The second requires a more thorough consideration because I believe there has been confusion in the distinction between the relationship of "sentencing" and "parole" and what they are supposed to achieve.
"Sentencing" is supposed to be a denunciation, a penalty administered by Court in response to the severity of the crime. It is, if you like, the cost of choosing to commit the crime expressed in terms of time to be incarcerated.
"Parole", by contrast, addresses the question of whether a criminal is fit to be returned to civil society. Although in the past parole has been given in lieu of unserved time, there is no reason why that should be so. When we reflect that 86 percent of criminals re-offend within five years of release, and that 70 percent of inmates have ten or more convictions, it is clear that using parole as a means to reduce the term of the prison sentence is an abject failure; particularly so for incorrigible offenders. Nevertheless, rather than abandon parole altogether, I advocate that it be strengthened and applied at the end of a completed sentence. In other words, criminals would do the full term of the sentence after which they would be eligible for parole. The Parole Board (with the addition of a victim's advocate) should then make a determination that might include specific provisions (such as curfews, use of chemical castration, medications where appropriate for paedophiles etc). But when offenders are deemed to be a risk to the community, they should remain where they belong - behind bars.
The last thing I would want is that violent criminals complete their full sentence, then, in the absence of any alternative, be released - only to wreak havoc on other victims. I am therefore convinced that parole should be retained (and possibly renamed), albeit changed in its application, so that it benefits victims and the law-abiding rather than criminals.
What we have come to speak of as the "Don Brash meeting" was held on July 4th this year at the Ellerslie Convention Centre in Auckland. It had been very well advertised and both the New Zealand Herald and the Sunday Star Times gave us amazingly wide coverage. The meeting was well attended with approximately 1000 people present. It began with a presentation of "our song" sung by Kelly Pigott and Rowene Marsh-Potaka. The song was moving indeed and gave us a good platform to spring Don Brash from.
He offered us some real hope that if he and his party are elected to Parliament next year he will make law and order a priority. He won the hearts of all SST members when he promised to abolish Parole for violent offenders. He alos promised to work on introducing hard labour for prisoners, a concept in which he strongly believes. Overall the general trend of his thinking and intent is very much aligned with what our organisation has been working toward since "Day One". From time to time the audience broke into cheering and clapping.
We had set up a table at the door and two members were there to collect donations. Many people were throwing large notes into the bucket for donations and membership.
Head Office in Napier had the idea of having some CD's of the song cut for sale and many were sold at the meeting with many more sold later on through retail outlets. Dr Brash certainly made a deep impression on all those present and was well received.
--- Lynn Gautier
On September 3rd a small group met a Japanese delegation who are part of a Victims' Support Group. Our party consisted of Ken and Rita Croskery, Peter Jenkins and Lyn Gautier.
The meeting took place at Rydges Hotel. Everything was said through an interpreter. Lyn, the first to speak, explained the policies of SST, the need for heavier sentencing and particularly the needs of victims. This was followed by a presentation of the website by Peter. He made it very interesting and the delegates asked him several pertinent questions.
After this Rita spoke about the dreadful experience she and her family have endured and are still enduring as the killers of her son appear and reappear in various phases of the so-called justice system. Lastly Ken took the floor and was magnificent, coming across as an absolutely true blue Kiwi. He didn't mince his words and didn't shy away from saying exactly what he thought.
After this we had a question time. We were able to ask the visitors questions about the Japanese system. When we told them our youth re-offending rate is close to 90 percent they looked amazed. They told us the youth re-offending rate in Japan is 3 to 4 percent! By the time the meeting broke up we had taken an hour over our allotted time but nobody seemed to mind.
The visitors left giving SST a $200 donation toward our work.
--- Lynn Gautier
My son Shannon was taken from me in the dead of the night
They preyed on one unknown to them, and unable to fight
He never knew who, or why, as they violently took his life
A sustained callous brutal beating with evil intent rife
A cowardly display and insight and deadly with intent
My son Shannon died within this horrific vile event
My son was taken from me in the dead of the night
A death sentence given no justice as a human right
Becoming judge and jury, Shannon was executed at will
Encouraged along by uncontrolled desire to violently kill
An emancipation of sin, deadly desire and cowardly display
Demonstrating to the world, Shannon was hunted as prey
Shannon was taken from me in the dead of the night
No remorse seen or shown as they made their flight
A death sentence and life sentences these killers handed out
No mercy given - sanctity of life these killers chose to flout
As I stand before the judge and witnesses this judicial day
I ask the same mercy be given that these killers did display
When I come home from court my knees begin collapsing and I believe it is caused by an emotional reaction to walking on in my life carrying the burden of Shannon's death, which is unbearable. The physical and emotional pain I walk with is indescribable and the sadness I feel each and every day perpetuates the dullness that has taken over my life. I feel isolated lost and alone and observe life rather than participating in it.
I have felt a need to hide in my home having no desire to be part of the world going on around me. My trust in people has been shattered and I exist in a turbulent emotional world trying to contain and suppress my feelings that lie dormant and threaten to erupt at will.
SENT TO US FROM A MEMBER :
It is not about rehabilitation.
It's about "Consequences for your actions".
We wish to acknowlege and kindly thank John Harrison
EC Credit Control Ltd for sponsoring our newsletter
We wish to thank all our members who renewed their membership from our yellow Invoice/Statement enclosed in our last Newsletter. Your generosity and encouragement was overwhelming. We were truly heartened by your response. We have decided to adopt this process annually to save time and cost involved in sending out individual accounts.
All contributions for this column would be most welcomed.
we would like to thank all those who took part in our campaign asking MP's to pledge their views on wheteher parole should be abolished for violent offenders.
From our point of view it was very successful as far as sorting out our MP's views.
The pledge cards proved we have four of the six main parties agreeing with our strategy, that this category of offender should serve their full Judge given sentence.
ORDER FORM; "Enough is Enough"
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