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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  • thor42

    Agreed, WO. These rainbow-and-unicorn organisations like the Human Rights Commission and the UN sound ok in theory, but all they seem to do in real life is completely bugger things up.

    If you want an example of just how f**king ridiculous the UN has become, I can tell you that North Korea is about to chair a UN conference on disarmament! I kid you not – here is the article –

  • roger

    Call me stupid but has anyone noticed how the natural order of things has gone to the pack since hone key took the playschool over.

  • peterwn

    Robert Hesketh did have the balls to ‘fess up to this and as a result ceased being a judge and was barred from regaining a practicing certificate for ? years. Compared with Martin Beattie who refused to budge, remained a judge and the only ‘penalty’ he received was relocation and limitation to ACC cases. Government got a legal opinion which effectively said there was insufficient grounds to sack him. Therefore I would not hold things too much against Robert.

    Corrections could spike the guns of the Commission by offering her a similar job at Paremoremo, Mt Eden, Spring Hill, etc.

    There was a case of a married couple who both trained racehorses. He assaulted her and was convicted for this and the marriage broke up. She continued training racehorses and copped a $1,500 fine from the Racing Conference (she was banned by virtue of her husband’s conviction and was supposed to seek special dispensation from the Conference to continue training racehorses). Human Rights Complaints Committee upheld her complaint, told the Conference not to be so silly and awarded her $8,000. High Court overturned this, but the Appeal Court upheld the $8,000 award.

    There are vague similarities with this to the present case, the main difference IMO is Corrections has a sound reason for not wanting her working in that prison, while the Racing Conference had bureaucratic reasons only with respect to the trainer.

  • adolffiinkensein

    Corrections is quite correct to decline her application for employment in ANY of its facilities.

    It is common practice to move inmate from one prison to another and accordingly they should not be restricted should it otherwise be in their interests to transfer her prick of a husband to a facility in which she happens to be employed.

  • excuseme

    The article ends: “The employment application form used by the department ……… specifically urges applicants to declare connections to anyone involved in criminal activity. The form also stated a failure to declare potential conflicts could result in being turned down for a job.”

    Even the daft HRC must take note of that condition on the job application form!

    • overthehill

      Yeah, they’ll be well aware of it, but being bureaucrats and members of the legal profession, they’ll be looking at the size of the invoices they can generate and send to Corrections just to establish what is already known.

      You don’t get to be a wealthy lawyer (or judge) by playing ethically, responsibly or honestly, after all.

  • titanuranus

    Hey ,putting him in prison breached his human right to give her the bash,what the FUCK is this country coming to?