What do you do when you have someone with over 200 convictions? Do you blame the crim, or do you blame the state?
Ministry of Justice figures paint a disturbing picture of Kiwis who spend their lives in and out of the court system, a system that experts say is failing.
The 20 people who have appeared before the courts the most times have been collectively sentenced 2562 times since 1980, but their offending is relatively low-level, raising questions about the effect of court sentences in curbing re-offending.
The man who was convicted 214 times is in his 70s, but was first convicted when he was 33, show figures obtained by the Herald on Sunday under the Official Information Act.
His most serious offence was a non-aggravated sexual assault.
The data revealed that all those in the top 20 were men. Seventeen were first convicted before they were 19 years old.
Lawyers and offender advocates said the high numbers raised serious questions about the effectiveness of criminal sentences.
Defence lawyer and former Crown prosecutor, Marc Corlett, said the numbers were “mind-blowing”.
“I have never seen numbers like this before,” he said. “It just goes to show that we are using criminal law as a solution to social problems like mental health and substance abuse, and it is an extremely blunt instrument.”
There is a very simple solution to this. Don’t let him out. He’s clearly a risk to himself and the community. Read more »