What a farce

The Human Rights Commission is becoming a joke. David Fisher writes in the Herald on Sunday about a bizarre case of a crim’s missus wanting to be a Corrections worker in the same prison as her husband is jailed and somehow when she doesn’t get the job it is a breach of her Human Rights.

A woman has been given the go-ahead to sue the corrections department for refusing to employ her as a guard in the prison in which her husband was remanded.

Lydia Butcher wanted to work at the Northland Region Corrections Facility, a prison at Ngawha Springs near Kaikohe.

But her husband of 12 years, 38-year-old Carl Butcher, was sent there on remand for firearms and assault charges. When Department of Corrections bosses found out, they refused to hire her, saying she should have told them.

The case is headed for the Human Rights Review Tribunal after mediation over the issue failed. Robert Hesketh, the Director of Human Rights Proceedings, said the case was going ahead. “We are her lawyers,” he added.

So it is worse, she neglected to tell Corrections on her job application that her husband was banged up. I note that we have comment from one Robert Hesketh. I thought that name was familiar so took a little wander through Google. oh right, it’s that Robert Hesketh, the convicted fraudster ex-Judge.

In January 1997 Judge Robert Hesketh appeared before a district court, and pleaded guilty to eight charges of fraud. The charges related to $815 worth of false accommodation and travel expense claims while employed as a judge in the Whangarei District Court. Hesketh repaid the money before being fined $8,000 and ordered to pay $2,000 costs.

Right, so we now have a convicted fraudster serving on the Human Rights Tribunal taking a case on behalf of a woman whose husband is a convicted armed offender, all because she didn’t get a job at the same prison as her husband.

It is understood the foundation of the case against the department is that Lydia Butcher should not be discriminated against because of her husband’s criminal behaviour.

What next? The only thing that could make this more farcical is if she has convictions that haven’t been disclosed as well.

It is joke cases like this that makes people wonder if we shouldn’t just disband the Human Rights Commission forthwith.


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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.

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