Sensible Sentencing Trust

Franks on engaging social media

Stephen Franks has written a LONG (but very considered) piece on why not only should lawyers not be afraid from engaging with social media, but arguably they are ethically obliged to, where using effective channels to get a message out there is in the interest of a client.
It’s a bit of a read, but for anyone interested in the media, politics and the law, it is an essential read.

A public voice for clients, and for views of what the law should be, does not shun effective platforms.

We have in the past, do now, and will in the future, write, publish, talk about and promote causes and interests in any medium that seems to us likely to be effective. Of course that includes social media. I have my own blog. I comment on the blog posts of others. Frequently the participation is on issues where I or the firm have a view, and our participation is a pro bono attempt to add expert correction or advice to the public discussion. Sometimes participation promotes the firm. Sometimes it is expressly to advance a client’s cause.

Like most people, we are probably more effective and more energetic on issues where our views coincide with those of the client. With their approval we’ll use as many channels as is practicable to ensure that the client position is communicated to the people who should have the information. We are public advocates. We do not eschew any lawful form of communication.

He then turns to the irony of the NBR reporting asking about using a media resource that calls on accountability and causes some offence. ¬† ¬† Read more »

More and more victims are seeking to overturn suppression

There is movement happening in society…victims are rebelling against a law designed to protect them. They are seeking to overturn name suppression in sex abuse cases.

They are doing this because there is likely to be other victims that secrecy prevents them from being uncovered.

This is why name suppression of offenders must end. By all means protect victim with name suppression, but we need to stop allowing criminals to hide behind their victims.

Victims of a serial paedophile fighting to keep his name secret will today ask a judge to lift suppression of their names.

The two women, who live in Christchurch, were in tears this week as they recounted details of the sex crimes the man committed against them four decades ago.

They believe he used the automatic name suppression granted to all victims of sexual abuse to hide his past. They want his name made public so parents can keep their children safe.

There could also be other victims who had not spoken to police, they said.

“He’s just a mongrel,” one of the victims said. ¬† Read more »

SST not happy about David Cunliffe meeting with known sex pest

As reported by Newstalk ZB’s Barry Soper, David Cunliffe was¬†briefed about the name suppressed sex pest prior to meeting him, and decided to go ahead with the lunch anyway.

This, after he apologised for all men to a womens’ conference on sexual violence.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust don’t like it much either.

werwe

 

‚ÄúMan up and vow to change the nonsense NZ suppression laws Labour‚ÄĚ challenges Ruth Money, Sensible Sentencing Spokesperson.

The NZ Herald reported this week that while on holiday in Queenstown last week David Cunliffe met ‚Äúwith a prominent New Zealander given name suppression on charges of performing an indecent act.‚ÄĚ Read more »

Protect that Child and ignore the wombles

The Sensible Sentencing Trust has launched a campaign about name suppression and flown Derryn Hinch over to speak about the travesty that is name suppression.

I may have been convicted and in the process changed the law, but the law changed put through by Simon Power were small and more interested in stopping people like me rather than actually tightening up on suppression orders.

Derryn Hinch has gone to jail for opposing suppression orders.

Derryn Hinch wants to be able to turn on his mobile phone and see the names of all sex offenders in the neighbourhood.

The outspoken Taranaki-born broadcaster, who now leads a campaign for a public sex offenders register in Australia, has come home to launch a pre-election campaign by the Sensible Sentencing Trust to get a similar register in New Zealand.

He will take part in a trust-organised debate tomorrow against liberals Dr Gwenda Willis and Kim Workman.

Kim Workman is one of those wombles who means well but is a hopeless crim hugger that the media uses all the time to promote their crim hugging stance.

Stephen Franks gives him a right good ticking off in his latest blog post.

On Sunday afternoon¬†I’ll be in Auckland to¬†chair a¬†public discussion¬†of¬† the secrecy that justice insiders defend so tenaciously. Derryn Hinch is the main speaker.¬†He’s endured prison¬†to stand up for open courts and freedom of speech.

Doing my homework, I’ve been reminded of the intellectual blindness engendered by the beliefs of well meaning people. ¬†Kim Workman is a good man. He writes thoughtfully on his¬†blog “Smart on Crime”. The¬†post prompted by the absurd discharge¬†of the Maori prince is worth reading by anyone who needs to understand the criminal justice establishment. They need to feel morally superior (compassion is their claim)¬†over¬†the rest of us, but they acknowledge the need also for research on their side.

So how do they end up so far from reality? This well written piece shows us. The reasoning is respectable so far as it goes, but it stops well before it gets anywhere near the main issues. It misses the same point as is missed by the justice insiders generally.

It measures everything according to its potential to redeem the offender. Redemption is worth trying if it does not prejudice more necessary purposes. But the fate of particular offenders is trivial, when the proper measure of a justice system, indeed any social mechanism for inculcating and upholding norm observance, is the extent of offending overall. Recidivism rates may affect offending rates, but they are much less important than rates of recruitment to offending.

Most serial offenders and hardened criminals will never be redeemed. I’d like to see Kim Workman offer to take in some of these scum into his own home if he thinks they can be redeemed.

I suspect he’d baulk at that suggestion.

Almost all cultures rely heavily on reputation mechanisms to discourage the establishment of such patterns. They commonly involve exacting a price over the long term from individuals, their families,¬†and communities that harbour them. They also commonly¬†provide well recognised paths to discharge the shame burden, to demonstrate remorse. As Kim Workman acknowledges, Maori norm enforcement¬†relied heavily on whakaama ‚Äď shame. What he does not go on to acknowledge was the extent to which shame mechanisms need practical impacts and ‘stigmatization’. They¬†depend on tangible consequences to shameful behaviour.¬†Whakaama (shame)¬†becomes irrelevant and toothless when it¬†is separated from the consequences, when the forgiveness carrots are poured out in sackloads without¬†any sticks of¬† ritual humiliation, group responsibility and formulaic depredaton (muru and utu)..

But¬†well meaning¬†‘sickly white liberals’ (in Winston Peters’ memorable words) have gutted our law of its links with reputation sanctions. They’ve left the law¬†struggling ineffectually to rely on formal punishments alone.

So Mr Workman, when you deplore the powerful¬†trend toward¬†more¬†severity in punishments, when you rail against the lack of recognition of the truth¬†that speed and certainty of consequence are much more important than severity in deterrence, take a look at your own responsibility. You’ve helped eliminate from our law the most powerful and speedy social sanctions of all at¬†the critical¬†time (in application to young people).

Rethinking Justice¬†applauds the secrecy of our youth courts. You defend our disgraceful name suppression law. You supported the Clean Slate law. And in your blog you whine about the ordinary peoples’ rejection of the expert demand that criminal justice policy be left to experts. You exemplify the establishment’s comprehensive rejection of the reputation based natural social sanctions.

You genuinely believe you have research and reason on your side, but it is fatally limited. Your post on Paki takes the shame analysis no further than the effect of shame on rehabilitation prospects. Shame may inhibit rehabilitation for offenders outside a community with high social cohesion (i.e. where the social sanctions are presumably severe, and scope for collective redemptive support). But where is the consciousness of its importance to offending rates?

Read more »

Human Wrongs Commission continues to protect rights of convicted kiddy fiddler [UPDATED]

A convicted pedophile has managed to continue to keep his name and details secret despite there being no record of a permanent name suppression order.

The Office of Human Rights Proceedings continues to battle the Sensible Sentencing Trust in protecting the rights of pedophile criminals over the rights of victims and the larger community.

A convicted paedophile has won his case to keep his identity a secret after the Sensible Sentencing Trust obtained leaked details of his offending and posted them online.

The man was convicted in 1995 of offending against two girls in 1975 and 1977. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

In 2009 an employee of the police unlawfully accessed his criminal record and supplied a copy of it to his employer. The details were leaked to the Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST). ¬† Read more »

Who will have the courage to protect the weak?

While we continue to place the human rights of remorseless rapists and murderers and paedophiles ahead of the innocent and the weak, more lives are being destroyed

Alexia Johnston explains

A 67-year-old sex offender who was jailed for 17 years this week has reignited the call for a publicly available register of sex offenders.

Christopher David Williams faced trial in Timaru but was sentenced in Christchurch on Monday.

A non-parole period of seven years and six months was imposed.

Williams was convicted in March on 12 charges: five of rape, four of unlawful sexual connection using his fingers, and three of indecent assault.

The Christchurch District Court heard this week that the two girls he offended against were subject to the abuse at rural South Island locations. One of the girls had become pregnant and one had been raped when she was heavily pregnant.

The offences were described as premeditated and cruel, with no remorse.

No remorse. ¬†Premeditated. ¬†Predictable. ¬†Inevitable. ¬† Read more »

Sensible Sentencing Trust calls for establishment of a Victims Commissioner

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is supporting a call for an independent Victims’ Commissioner saying it appears to be the only way to ensure Victims’ needs are adequately taken care of.

Trust Spokesman, Garth McVicar said while he appreciated the Government had put a lot of money into trying to improve victim services as long as the service providers were under the umbrella of Ministry of Justice or some other Govt. Department nothing would change. ¬† Read more »

Sensible Sentencing Trust lodges formal complaint against a Judge

Yesterday I wrote about a dud judge in Christchurch.

Now the Sensible Sentencing Trust is laying a formal complaint about the actions of the judge.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is lodging a formal complaint against a Judge who was reluctant to allow a sex abuse victim to read her victim impact statement in court saying the Judge showed an unacceptable bias towards the offender.

Full Story at:

http://courtnews.co.nz/2014/04/10/child-sex-abuse-victim-speaks/#axzz2yXg4L0LF

Trust Spokesman, Garth McVicar said Judge Saunders wanted the victim to attend a restorative justice conference, which the victim refused. Judge Saunders then questioned why the victim now wanted to read her statement in court, where the defendant did not have a chance to reply effectively.

‚ÄúWe think Judge Saunders was totally out of order and caused unnecessary anguish to an already traumatized and stressed victim. It is incredibly difficult for a victim of sexual abuse to speak-up, but to then be challenged as to why she wanted to read her victim impact statement to the court is unacceptable.‚ÄĚ ¬† Read more »

Human Rights Review Tribunal and Privacy Commission out of control

Yesterday the Herald editorial outlines the egregious case of¬†the very agencies charged with protecting privacy in New Zealand now violating the privacy of others in order to prosecute a case laid ¬†by a moaning whinger who didn’t get a job and claims he was victimised as a result.

The law is not always an ass but it can produce an absurdity. The decision of the Human Rights Review Tribunal to make a company disclose to a failed job applicant the CVs and reference checks of others going for a job is an example.

The aggrieved party complained to the tribunal that he was discriminated against on the basis of age. He wants to see the credentials of others who applied or succeeded in the process. Under the court system’s rules of “discovery”, which the tribunal adopts, all information pertinent to an action needs to be handed over from the defendant to the plaintiff. The tribunal has dismissed an application from the company involved, Alpine Energy, to block that discovery under a section of the Evidence Act which covers confidentiality.

So Alpine and its recruitment agency must give the man the information it has on the successful candidate and those who contested and lost. This would include not only names, applications and CVs (although the tribunal and the failed job-seeker have agreed it need not include addresses and contact details) but also reference and perhaps security checks.

If one of those who applied, in confidence, has a criminal record or a past debt, the information could be made available. Presumably, medical information, past behavioural issues or work performance details provided by former employers and referees would also fall under this other person’s scrutiny.¬† Read more »

Problems with another candidate for InternetNZ council [UPDATED]

Don Gould        Source/ InternetNZ cadidate profile

Don Gould Source/ InternetNZ candidate profile

We have already seen the demise of Alistair Thompson’s credibility when he was caught moonlighting on behalf of the Internet Party.

The funny thing is with some sunlight being shone on InternetNZ and the political connections of council members is that as a side issue it has thrown some sunlight on another candidate.

Don Gould is another of the candidates standing for the vacant position as a result of the resignation of Nat Torkington.

His candidate statement leaves out some important information.

You see Don Gould is actually Donald John Gould and he has a criminal past.

In 2008 he was convicted of having a sexual relationship with a 15 year old. The Herald reported:

Christchurch tutor Donald John Gould, 38, has been remanded on bail waiting to be sentenced after he admitted having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student. He pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful sexual connection and doing an indecent act.

Christchurch Court News added more information:

A Mairehau man faces a likely prison term for a six-week sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Donald John Gould was remanded on bail to a crown sentencing session on January 23, and warned by Christchurch District Court Judge John Bisphan that jail was ‚Äúvery likely‚ÄĚ. ¬† Read more »