Judges the key to keeping child sex offenders out of your street

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The Minister of Corrections , Judith Collins, says Public Protection Orders should be used more by the courts to keep sex offenders away from potential victims in the community.

Speaking to Jessica Mutch on TV One’s Q+A programme, Mrs Collins said that in cases such as one publicised today, where a young mother of three has a sex offender living behind her house in Mangere, Corrections tried to get a Public Protection Order for him, but the High Court felt he did not meet the criteria.

“He does have 24-hour, seven-day-a-week monitors and minders with him. He does have GPS monitoring on him. He is allowed out once a week with his minders and GPS to do shopping and to go back into the house, but unfortunately, he’s served his sentence, he’s on the most intensive form of monitoring that Corrections can get, and they’ve been turned down for a public protection order,” she said.

“So Corrections, I believe, are very much the meat in the sandwich, although I very much feel for families who feel that they’ve got this child-sex offender next door to them.”

Mrs Collins says the Government was building a community inside the prison grounds at Christchurch Men’s Prison in order to house people who had completed their sentences but were deemed too risky to be living back in the community.

“But … the courts have to allow that to happen, allow us to have these people placed there. So Corrections doesn’t just decide where people are; they’re actually directed by the courts and the parole board.”

The message is clear:  the tools are already there, but the Courts aren’t using them.   On the one hand, it is always good to see the Court act conservatively when depriving someone of their rightful liberty.  On the other, when all professionals and the majority of the Parole people are saying someone is a disaster waiting to happen, putting them into the too hard basket for Corrections to handle isn’t helpful.

The public are right to not want a “live” threat to move in next door.  The Courts have the answer.

  • digby

    I would like to discuss the phrase “take away their rightful liberty”. As a member of the community shouldn’t we have the right to be free from the risk of repetitive offenders assessed as being too risky to be back in the community? Shouldn’t the communities right outweigh the right of the individual if it is proven that the individual cant play by societies rules?

    • That’s the basic problem with standing up for human rights. You also have to do it for people you don’t think deserve them.

      • digby

        I disagree. Surely the community has a right to be free from the actions of proven and untreatable sex offenders. What I am saying is that this right of the community outweighs the right of the offender to live in the community. An offender can be housed, fed, entertained, and have all his other “Human rights” met outside the community in a secure location.

        • You are allowed to disagree.

          But the basic concept of human rights is that you don’t get to choose who gets them and who doesn’t. Also, a human can’t do anything to lose them.

          This is why you will never see me, and this blog, advocate for shutting down free speech. “The other side” always wants to silence us, whereas “our side” is looking to debate them on the issues.

          I personally am not happy with “hate speech” legislation. There should be room for people to discuss that the world would be better off without Jews. You know why? Because I want to be able to discuss the world being better off without Muslims.

          If you are really honest with yourself, you find that in most cases you are applying different rules to people you like and people you don’t like.

          As a Libertarian, I can’t abide with that.

          • Shalice

            Problem is that the human rights of a whole community seem to matter less than this one person. Human rights are distributed in such a way that minorities get more than the majority. That’s an issue.

          • Uncomfortable, isn’t it?

            So you would be quite happy to silence a minority because being a minority they aren’t representative?

            That some comes back to bite when you are in a minority on something.

          • Shalice

            I’m not saying silence them at all. But it seems to me that human rights activists and the Human Rights Commission in particular always rule in the favour of who they think is the most oppressed and has less “privilege” by default without taking into account how many other people and their rights are hurt in the process. I am saying the process could be more fair.

  • Gravedodger

    Judges are more than happy and secure in that economics and privilege will keep released sex offenders out of their communities.
    I was resident in rural Wairarapa when criminals instituted a war on police in the 1980s including firebombing their houses, not difficult to find in a small community. Wellington based Judges travelled to Mastertom to preside in the court house and it was often suggested that if they resided on Lansdowne Hill they might have had a different understanding of just what the police were enduring, thereby adjusting their judicial responses.

  • Hard1

    The high cost of 24 hour staff on shifts monitoring these degenerates could house 4 homeless, the administration costs could be used to house even more homeless, the house that they’re in could house even more homeless, and yet this is a lefty ‘human rights’ initiative preserving the ‘dignity’ of a single pervert.

  • biscuit barrel

    Who wrote the law that they say the courts arent using properly?
    Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Act 2014

    http://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/public-safety-paramount-corrections-denied-nzs-first-protection-order-rapist
    If this is the dude, hard to see why he doesnt qualify
    ‘At the High Court in Auckland today, Corrections was seeking New Zealand’s first Public Protection Order against a violent offender who raped a 13-year-old girl just 10 days after getting out of prison in 2001.’

  • Mick Ie

    This offender requires 24/7 monitoring.
    This means he is dangerous and Corrections acknowledge he is high risk and he will commit further sex attacks if he becomes free of surveillance; the Courts also know this, so he should be in preventative detention where he his freedom but within a prison environment.
    If the Judge was really serious about supporting him, surely it is a cruel torture to put him in a living situation where he is surrounded by ongoing temptation.
    He is a time-bomb and I can not even begin to appreciate how vulnerable the young mum must feel and the fear she is living with on behalf of her children.
    I sincerely hope another family will not have to experience the horror that Bessie Gotingco’s family has to endure, because a Judge is unwilling to make a ruling that would protect the public from this dangerous predator.

  • Ceebee

    Want to keep child sex offenders out of your street ?
    There’s a very easy way – just move into the same street as the judge.

    Never seen one of the released offenders sent to live next door to a Justice.

    I’ve often thought the best measure of whether the parole boards/Judge truly believe there is a low/no risk of reoffending would be to move paroled prisoners into the same streets as the families of the parole board/Judge.

    If they took a more conservative position in that situation (ie kept the person locked up for longer), then they are really just playing with other people’s safety – true NIMBYists.

  • Rosco

    While I agree with the premise in the article, that the issue lies with the judiciary. In my opinion the point of the issue is not in granting a public protection order. It happens much earlier in the process. In NZ we have a sentence called preventive detention. In essence, an offender who is given a sentence of preventive detention with no non parole period set will be eligible for parole after five years. However if the offender is deemed to be a risk to the community they can be kept in detention indefinitely. This is the sentence that those recidivist offenders such as the beast of Blenhiem should have been given. The risk is known at sentencing – it is the judges who refuse to use this sentence.

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