Crime

When the system fails people get hurt

Summary from Internal Police memo

Summary from Internal Police memo

Last night TVNZ lead with a story about a Tauranga case where the Crown Solicitor opted for cost saving over public safety and basically let a rapist walk who (quite predictably) has now raped again.

The organisation charged with prosecuting criminals has been accused of allowing a violent offender to attack again.

Neihana Rangitonga has admitted kidnapping a woman for sex and threatening to kill her.

Now another woman who alleges she was an earlier victim says the handling of her case by Crown prosecutors meant another woman was attacked.

For nearly four years, the woman who claims she was an earlier victim has been monitoring news reports about sex attacks, wondering if the man she says attacked her had struck again.

“Anytime something happens in the news, I think about it, that memory,” she told ONE News.

Then last month, Rangitonga was arrested for abducting a 21-year-old student for sex and threatening to kill her.

He has pleaded guilty to picking her up from a Mount Maunganui Burger King drive through in the early hours of May 10 and trying to force her into sex.

The terrified woman managed to jump from his car and raise the alarm.

“If anyone didn’t believe me at the police station, I thought if they don’t believe me now they’ll know,” says the woman who alleges she was an earlier victim.

Four years earlier, Rangitonga was arrested and charged with raping and wounding this woman, who can’t be identified for legal reasons.

The pair met on a bus and she agreed to go to a park with him to take drugs.   Read more »

This would be a fascinating precedent

Imagine if you did something wrong and you were convicted for it.  You pay the fine, do the Community Service or jail time.  It’s all behind you now.

Should they be able to come after you to recover money for the rest of your life?

A convicted fraudster says she would suffer “extreme hardship” if she were required to pay back even a fraction of the $600,000 she stole from IHC.

But the High Court at Wellington was told yesterday that Lynn Fiebig, who is now out of jail and working as a car valet in Whanganui, has more than $11,000 in two bank accounts.

Fiebig, 60, was sentenced to three years’ jail in 2010 for defrauding IHC of $590,029.80 while working as its fundraising manager between November 2006 and May 2009. Most of that money funded her luxury lodge project, Ahuru Lodge, in Ohakune, previously owned with her partner.

Associate High Court Judge Warwick Smith yesterday ordered her to pay $25 a week to IHC for the next two years. The reparations, totalling $2600, would amount to just a fraction of the debt she owed, which now stands at more than $750,000.

I think this has huge repercussions.  It could be possible to go after defaulters of loans, even after bankruptcy by civil means.  It could be possible to take the driver of a car that killed your child to court and insist on perpetual payments for emotional harm and loss of quality of life.   Read more »

The classic liberal view on legal highs

Stephen Franks has a good post from the classic liberal perspective on the current moral outrage over legal highs.

There are plenty of good reasons to challenge the criminalisation of suppliers of goods not proven dangerous (and even those that are plainly dangerous – like alcohol) to willing adult buyers. Supply offenders are not ‘victimless’, because drug users are losers. But the ‘victims’ seek out the ‘offenders’.

A tenet of liberty is that the state’s coercive powers should not be used to limit the freedom of informed adults. For years we struggled to get rid of the laws that enforced only a censorious majority’s opinion of what behaviour was self damaging. Laws against homosexuality, breaking marriage vows, abandoning your responsibilities to support children and aged parents and many other ‘moral offenses’ have been repealed. The slogan ‘the law has no place in the bedrooms of the nation’ reflected a view that minorities should be free of majority tyranny.

It will be interesting to see if any National Party MPs dare to distinguish their position on these drugs from freedom to ride motocross, or play polo, or climb mountains, or play rugby, or not wear a helmet on your quad bike? Why applaud nanny state banning of this one form of self harm but have no law against eating too much or drinking  to drunkenness, or giving yourself diabetes with soft drinks, or any other of the myriad  ways people harm themselves.

Some of those harms are much more expensive (in terms of the numbers who are susceptible) and with more proven cause/consequence connection.   Read more »

Did removing lead from petrol solve the crime problem?

Crime is dropping, various politicians claim it is because of this policy or that policy…mayors claim it was their policing ideas…but what if the solution to crime was something else altogether?

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Many Western nations have experienced significant declines in crime in recent decades, but could the removal of lead from petrol explain that?

Working away in his laboratory in 1921, Thomas Midgley wanted to fuel a brighter tomorrow. He created tetraethyl lead – a compound that would make car engines more efficient than ever.

But did the lead that we added to our petrol do something so much worse? Was it the cause of a decades-long crime wave that is only now abating as the poisonous element is removed from our environment?

For most of the 20th Century crime rose and rose and rose. Every time a new home secretary took office in the UK – or their equivalents in justice and interior ministries elsewhere – officials would show them graphs and mumble apologetically that there was nothing they could do to stop crime rising.

Then, about 20 years ago, the trend reversed – and all the broad measures of key crimes have been falling ever since.

Offending has fallen in nations whose governments have implemented completely different policies to their neighbours.

If your nation locks up more criminals than the average, crime has fallen. If it locks up fewer… crime has fallen. Nobody seems to know for sure why.

But there are some people that believe the removal of lead from petrol was a key factor.

Lead can be absorbed into bones, teeth and blood. It causes kidney damage, inhibits body growth, causes abdominal pain, anaemia and can damage the nervous system. More than a century ago, a royal commission recommended to British ministers that women shouldn’t work in lead-related industry because of damage to their reproductive organs.

By the 1970s, studies showed that children could even be poisoned by chewing fingernails harbouring tiny flecks of old leaded paint from their homes and schools.

Studies have shown that exposure to lead during pregnancy reduces the head circumference of infants. In children and adults, it causes headaches, inhibits IQ and can lead to aggressive or dysfunctional behaviour.

If you want to understand the causes of crime – and be tough on them – you need to start with lead, says Dr Bernard Gesch, a physiologist at Oxford University who has studied the effect of diet and other environmental factors on criminals.

Read more »

A dud judge

Read this account and be astonished at the poor form by this dud judge who seems more interested in the rights of a scumbag sex offender than those of his victims.

A judge has grudgingly allowed one child sex abuse victim to read her statement in court, after the victims had declined a restorative justice meeting where they could have confronted the offender.

The offending against three young girls by Shane Vincent Roy Dennis, now aged 54, took place more than 20 years ago.

Christchurch District Court Judge David Saunders today sentenced Dennis to 10 months of home detention, 200 hours of community work, and ordered him to pay $1000 to each victim.

Dennis had admitted 11 charges of indecent assault, and one of inducing a girl to do an indecent act. All related to girls aged under 12 at the time.

Dennis now works as a truck driver in Whangarei, where helps care for his sick wife. He will continue to work and the emotional harm reparation payments to the victims will be made at $75 a week.

Judge Saunders said it was a case where restorative justice would have been beneficial but the offer had been declined by the victims.

He questioned why one of the victims now wanted to read her victim impact statement in court, where the defendant did not have a chance to reply effectively.

“I’m not comfortable about it now,” said the judge. “This doesn’t have a sense of balance about it. There’s no opportunity for formal interaction or apology. I am not sure what she is trying to achieve.”   Read more »

Dud judge awards triple murderer £4,500 because he was bashed in prison

He needs to be strung up not given 4500 quid because he copped a bit of slap and tickle in the cells.

Milly Dowler’s killer Levi Bellfield has been awarded £4,500 compensation after a prison attack.

The triple murderer received the taxpayer funded payout despite the fact that he only suffered minor cuts during an assault in Wakefield Prison in 2009.

The Ministry of Justice says that it is “hugely disappointed” in the decision of the county court judge, while Labour MP Ian Austin described the payout as “a complete and utter disgrace”.

Bellfield was attacked by a fellow prisoner with a makeshift weapon outside one of the prison’s bathrooms in 2009, before he went on trial for the murder of the 13-year-old schoolgirl.

He launched legal action claiming that the prison staff should have protected him, the Mirror reported.  Read more »

More good news

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Law and Order is always near the Top 5 of issues for people around election time, although it may have slipped a little recently.

The reason is that crime isn’t at the forefront of our minds these days

Recorded crime across New Zealand has dropped to a record low, police say.   Read more »

While the opposition plays games National focuses on the things that matter

The opposition continues to play games, entertaining and cavorting with crooks, dreaming up policies that create more problems than they solve.

Meanwhile the National government carries on making a difference on things that actually matter, like reducing re-offending for criminals.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says the Government is now over half way to achieving the Better Public Service target of a 25 per cent reduction in reoffending by 2017.

Reoffending has fallen by 12.6 per cent against the June 2011 benchmark, resulting in 2,319 fewer offenders and 9,276 fewer victims of crime each year.

“These figures are extremely encouraging, and combined with a 17.4 per cent drop in recorded crimes over the last three years it shows our communities are safer,” says Mrs Tolley.

“I want to thank our Corrections and Probation staff for embracing our bold plans and for all their efforts in reducing reoffending.

“There have been unprecedented increases in prisoner and community offender rehabilitation under this Government, which are already paying dividends.  Read more »

Derryn Hinch out of jail after 50 days

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Derryn Hinch leaves prison after a 50-day stay. Photo: Channel Seven

Derryn Hinch has been released from jail after spending 50 days in the pokie for not paying his $100,000 fine for naming pedos and other scumbags with name suppression.

A shaved and shaken Derryn Hinch has emerged from prison after spending 50 nights locked up for failing to pay a fine incurred after breaching a suppression order about Melbourne woman Jill Meagher’s killer.

The Seven Network personality was released from Langi Kal Kal jail in Trawalla, about 150 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, just after 8am on Friday.

In January, Hinch, 70, was ordered to pay the $100,000 contempt of court fine – or face 50 days in jail – with the broadcaster vowing to do the time, saying his decision was based “on principle”.

[...]

Asked if he was harassed by other prisoners, Hinch said, ‘‘for the first few days, because I had shaved the beard, nobody really knew who I was’’.

‘‘But, yeah, the guards and other guys treated me pretty well but it was no picnic,’’ he said. ‘‘You are talking strip searches, bend over the whole lot.

‘‘And to wake up on your 70th birthday and have a guard saying happy birthday, it was tough.’’  Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Amir Pourmand

Photo: Amir Pourmand

In A Central Park In Tehran

Read more »