She should've been a cop

This story has eerie similarities to a recent case in Wellington where a “senior civil servant” got off.

A Hamilton woman has tried to escape punishment for a serious assault by saying a conviction would prevent her working with children and the elderly.

But Paula Bennett’s plea did not convince a Hamilton District Court judge, who yesterday convicted Bennett of assaulting her daughter during an incident in May last year.

The court was told that leading up to the assault, Bennett tried to phone police after becoming concerned about her daughter’s “challenging” behaviour.

The daughter responded by hitting the phone out of Bennett’s hand.

The 43-year-old then chased her daughter on to the street, where she admitted pinning the girl against a fence and striking her repeatedly across the face.

Concerned bystanders eventually intervened and phoned police.

Note that this is a different Paula Bennett from the Minister of Social Development. However we have essentially the same story here of a recalcitrant teen and a fed up parent in trying circumstances.

Defence counsel Rob Quin yesterday asked for Bennett to be discharged without conviction, citing the consequences a conviction would have on her ability to work as a caregiver.

The court was told Bennett had recently been offered a job at a kohanga reo.

However, the job offer would be withdrawn if Bennett received an assault conviction.

Exactly the same defense that Mike Antunovic successfully used for his client, the “top civil servant”.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Brendon Bland said employers had a right to know about employees’ past conduct.

Judge Rosemary Riddell agreed. She said an employer’s right to know about a worker’s past outweighed the indirect and direct consequences a conviction would have for Bennett.

Judge Riddell had sympathy for Bennett raising a child with behavioural problems but said the incident was an “ongoing assault”. A conviction and discharge would be a severe enough penalty, the judge said.

Whoopsy, different result, in this case the Judge says tough, that is no way to behave and names and shames the person, who isn’t a police officer. In the Wellington case the judge went out of his way to direct the jury in exactly the same way the defense counsel tried in Hamilton and the “top civil servant” got off, got his name suppression.

Meanwhile I get charged for saying what two newspapers had already said….shit, helps to be a cop if you are ever charged and in court. Rules for the boys, teachers, lawyers, judges, sports people and seperate rules for everyone else.

Our justice system is broken and the judges and politicians broke it. Why do the judiciary get things so wrong? The major inconsistenceies in applying name suppression suggest that it isn’t simple, or judges are simply stupid.

If you are cop, a judge, an All Black, a politician, a dentist, a rap singer, a has-been Olympic Boxer, a shit comedian, a doctor or a lawyer you can have name suppression and NOT have your employer have the right to know what sort of sicko crimes you’ve been up to, but if you are a poor black woman from Hamilton tough shit, bro, take your licks coz the system sez so bro.

Name Suppression must be abolished. If they chuck out the defense of provocation in under 3 minutes in urgency then why is it taking FIGJAM Power so  long to deal with this issue.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.