Barry Soper on his time as a gang member

Who knew Barry Soper was born to be wild?

There are some things you do in your career that you’d rather not have done. Mine was infiltrating a southern motorcycle gang more than 40 years ago and riding to the Alexandra Blossom Festival which you’d think would be a most unlikely place for gangs to assemble, but that they did from all over the country.

The gangs had complained they’d the previous year been roughed up by the police who weren’t wearing their identification numbers, which of course they’re required to do by law.

Riding through the countryside with around a hundred thundering bikes certainly gave you a feeling of power, but that feeling turned to disgust at what they got up to when several hundred of them set up camp at an area on the outskirts of the Central Otago town called The Pines.

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Key moves to mitigate Winston’s inroads into law and order

Law and Order issues are normally the purview of National. But last week Winston Peters made a big play towards addressing those issues in his speech to the Police Association.

Winston Peters promised tougher sentencing for violent offences and 1800 more Police.

John Key has seen the risk and has moved quickly to attempt to mitigate.

Prime Minister John Key says he understands concerns about law and order – saying as a parent he worries about his daughter getting hassled or even raped.

This morning, he told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking that there was “no question” that more frontline officers helped, but that was only one factor and the overall structure of policing needed to be considered.

“You really need is to take a bit more of a sophisticated approach and say, ok, let’s just accept there are more resources…let’s talk about how do we deliver what New Zealanders really want, which is not just a number…that a politician barks out at you.  Read more »

This is why we have a crime problem, judges practice catch and release on our criminals

Fairfax ran a story on the weekend about the effects of drugs on society with the main thrust being the hurt that drug addiction causes.

But in the middle of all the tears and angst were these little nuggets of information.

The summary of facts for the offending outlined how unstuck Joshua Morton’s life became.

On January 1, the defendant was at Waitara’s Marine Park when he saw the victim in a parked car. He walked up to the victim and punched him in the head through the half open window.

As the victim tried to get out of the car, the defendant kicked at the door repeatedly  and then launched more punches, causing the window to smash. Joshua Morton then presented a set of nunchuks (two small metal bars joined by a chain) and used them to smash the windscreen and punch the victim’s head. The victim was left with a split nose and a facial cut, a sore jaw and abrasions to his back.

Later the same month, Joshua Morton smashed his way into his parents’ Waitara home, stole his father’s ute and left.  After the matter was reported to the police, the defendant was spotted on Cracroft St.

After activating the red and blue lights, police did get Joshua Morton to stop and get out of the car.  However, he got back into the ute and drove off at speed. He was arrested a short time later.   Read more »


We got it all wrong. Having no money makes you a criminal

biggestRadio NZ are pushing so many poverty tropes at the moment it is hard to keep up with them all.

The latest one is that poverty makes you a criminal…as well as a dead beat parent.

Some womble do-gooder from University and a left-wing activist with the Child Poverty Action Group thinks Judith Collins is wrong too:

There’s help there for all those who need it, she argues. Well, those who work with struggling families know how much more difficult it is to get the help needed under this government.

Ms Collins’ position is strange, to say the least, because the evidence doesn’t support her and she’s part of a government which says it is committed to evidence and to effective use of knowledge and research to support policies and actions.

Interesting how selective the use of evidence can be.

Studies from around the world tell us several important things about poverty and crime. Poverty is linked with crime. Those who experience poverty are much more likely to be the victims of crime than those in more affluent communities. As a British review of the research noted: “Most children raised in poverty do not become involved in crime, but there are higher victim and fear of crime rates in disadvantaged areas”.

That said, there is good evidence that, compared with their more affluent peers, children brought up in poverty are more likely to be reported as having behavioural problems, more likely to be reported for aggressive and/or risk-taking behaviour, more likely to be excluded from school, more likely to be the victims of criminal behaviour, more likely to grow up in communities with limited social and recreational opportunities and facilities.

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Spot on Judith: “I see a poverty of ideas, a poverty of parental responsibility, a poverty of love, a poverty of caring.”

Judith Collins is dead right in her comments about who is responsible for the so-called child poverty issue.

Of course, the perpetually outraged have decided to scream and the Media party have joined in.

Children’s advocates are upset by Justice Minister Judith Collins’ comments apparently blaming many child poverty problems on parents.

At the Police Association annual conference in Wellington, the minister responded to a question from a Northland police officer, who said police were often busy with gangs, RNZreported.

Gangs often had members who experienced poverty as children, he said.

New Zealand child welfare policies were criticised by the United Nations in its latest report, which called for urgent measures to combat violence, abuse, and neglect.

Collins said the government was doing more for child poverty than the UN and money was available in New Zealand for those in need, the report said.    Read more »

Sam’s tax increase has sparked a crime wave

Sam Lotu Iiga was all proud as punch when he beefed up tobacco taxes.

Perhaps he won’t be so pleased as a crime wave sweeps across the nation all because of increased taxes.

Dairy owners are fortifying their businesses as the lucrative black market for tobacco fuels a wave of commercial break-ins.

Burglars have targeted up to 20 cigarette retailers – predominantly dairies and service stations – in about the last fortnight in Christchurch, making off with thousands of dollars worth of tobacco products.

Police have launched an investigation dubbed Operation Smoke as they try to catch those responsible. They are yet to make any arrests, but have some suspects.

A dairy owner, who did not want to be identified, said thieves smashed through the wooden backdoor of his business in south Christchurch, about 1.30am on September 24.

They used a crowbar to open a locked cabinet inside and stole about $10,000 worth of tobacco products.   Read more »


If this doesn’t make you throw up your muesli I don’t know what will.

A father and daughter pleaded guilty to incest when they appeared in the Dunedin District Court this afternoon.

Judge Kevin Phillips convicted them and remanded them on bail, with conditions prohibiting communication between the pair, for sentence in November.

The pair – aged 37 and 23 – have previously been convicted of incest, after the woman gave birth to a child in 2011.

The pair, who have interim name suppression, had troubled upbringings.   Read more »


What a good idea, criminal bludgers to have their benefits docked

Mark Mitchell has proposed that criminal bludgers have their benefits docked if they don’t comply with court orders.

Concerns have been raised about a new bill that could see benefit payments cut for offenders who breach their community sentences.

Parliament’s Social Services Committee is currently calling for public submissions on the the Social Security Amendment Bill, which was put forward by National MP Mark Mitchell.

The bill would allow Corrections to have benefit payments for offenders stopped if they continued to disregard written warnings to comply with their community sentences.

Offenders serving community sentences are on probation, which means they are able to serve their sentences in the community but with restrictions on their movements.

Some organisations are worried about the impact the bill could have, and have questioned if it will only drive offenders to re-offend.

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I predicted this would happen

A couple of years back I attended a conference in Singapore on Tobacco Control and learned some interesting things.

One was that there is a point at which taxation levels on tobacco reaches a level where there is a significant upside for criminals to enter the market and start selling illicit tobacco.

I gave evidence to a select committee, where one tobacco control activist sat behind me as I gave evidence and called me a fat bastard and a racist and every other name under the sun, and it was the same select committee where Hone Harawira invited me to step outside so he could smack my head in.

The evidence that I was giving was about the levels of taxation and funding to anti-tobacco groups and how it was ineffective and reaching the point that criminals would find selling tobacco more lucrative than selling cannabis. At one point I offered to have a 40-foot container delivered to the select committee, full of illicit tobacco products if only they would guarantee the payment for the goods. It is that easy to get hold if.

With the most recent tax increased implemented by this dopey government what I predicted has come to pass. Criminals are now distributing illicit tobacco and other criminals are raiding stores to get their hands on the product.

A lucrative black market for cigarettes is fuelling an increase in armed robberies, with criminals targeting dairies and stealing tobacco products to order.   Read more »


Photo of the Day

Robin Doan photographed March 12, 2014, near Palo Duro Canyon. Photo: DARREN BRAUN.

Robin Doan photographed March 12, 2014, near Palo Duro Canyon. Photo: DARREN BRAUN.

 The Girl Who Saw Too Much

Texas family is gunned down in a deadly home invasion — but the shooter unknowingly leaves behind a witness.

In the fall of 2005, a young Missouri man, 23-year-old Levi King, went on a vicious and inexplicable 24-hour killing spree, first shooting an elderly man and his daughter-in-law in the rural community of Pineville, Missouri, then stealing their truck and driving to Texas, where he randomly stopped at a darkened farm house on the outskirts of the small Panhandle town of Pampa.

Dressed completely in black and toting an AK-47, King broke through the back door and immediately went to the master bedroom. He first put three bullets into the body of the home’s owner, 31-year-old Brian Conrad. He next fired two shots into Molly, the family’s dog. Then he turned his gun on Conrad’s 35-year-old pregnant wife, Michell, who was screaming. He shot her five times.

Michell’s ten-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, Robin Doan, was at the end of the hallway, crouched by her bedroom door, which was partially open. She saw King walk out of her mother and stepfather’s bedroom and head her way. She ran back to her bed and pulled the covers over her head. He stepped into her bedroom, aimed his gun at her, and pulled the trigger. The shot went wide, hitting a pillow, but Robin made a grunting noise and fell to the floor, pretending she was dead. King fell for her act. He turned around, walked into a third bedroom, and shot Robin’s fourteen-year-old brother, Zach. King then walked into the kitchen and rummaged around for food before driving away.

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