Edwards on the “smart looking rapist”

Brian Edwards has written about his thoughts on the “smart looking rapist” from Turangi:

I rarely find myself in agreement with Garth McVicar or his ‘Sensible Sentencing’ Trust. I’m a liberal in the area of law and order and not a great believer in the value of lengthy prison sentences. But on the issue of Judge Jocelyn Munro’s remark to the 16-year-old who attacked and raped a 5-year-old girl, that he ‘looked smart’ when he appeared before her in the Youth Court, I find myself in near-agreement with Mr McVicar. I wasn’t, as he declared himself, ‘disgusted’ by the judge’s remark, but I thought it displayed extraordinary lack of understanding or empathy towards the feelings of the little girl’s parents.

I hadn’t intended to deal with the issue on this site. The nation’s ‘outrage’ about the crime and the judge’s remark have been well canvassed in other forums. But the defences of the judge’s remarks by her colleagues in the law, published in the press this morning, struck me as so inadequate that I need to respond.

Manukau barrister Kate Leys informed us that, ‘There’s a statutory requirement upon the court to make sure the young person understands and participates in the proceedings’. I really can’t see the relevance of that to complimenting the rapist of a five-year-old girl on being neatly dressed.

Auckland barrister Maria Pecotic agreed with her Manukau colleague: ‘It is to encourage the young person to continue to take that care.’ That argument seems to me to suggest, ‘Well, he may have raped a 5-year-old girl, but at least he takes pride in his appearance.’ I come close to being ‘disgusted’ by that suggestion.

Youth advocate Megan Jenkins told us that a judge ‘might have seen the person three weeks earlier, and if there’s a difference, the judges will make comments on that.’  If I were the parent of a five-year-old girl, brutally assaulted and raped, would I find it appropriate for a judge to compliment the defendant on looking smarter at his second appearance than at his first? The question is rhetorical.

If Brian Edwards and Garth McVicar agree on something then it is something that should be noted with a bit more attention than a simple nod or a wink.

Criminal defence lawyer, the late Mike Bungay QC, with whom I co-authored a book on murder in New Zealand, not only instructed his clients (primarily murderers and rapists) on the importance of dressing well in court, but often drew a chalk mark on the dock for his clients to look down at while listening to the evidence against them. Their bowed heads were intended to convey shame and remorse.

I very much doubt that ‘looking smart’ was this defendant’s own idea. It will have been on his lawyer’s and his parents’ advice and they were right to give it. But it is a strategy to suggest that something has changed. It was intended, as the prayer was, to say, ‘I am not the same young man who raped a five-year-old girl a matter of weeks ago. Just look at me. You can see that I am someone else.’ No doubt without intending to, Judge Munro validated that impression by complimenting the 16-year-old defiler on his appearance.

Brian says it all so eloquently.


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  • Bon Chance

    What a day – agreeing with Brian Edwards !
    Does anyone else recall with disgust the scenes of that parasite Lorraine Smith taking that piece of human excrement Chris Kahui to get his hair cut and to find him some nice clothes before he went on trial ?  Hair cut and suit paid for by the taxpayer !

  • jay cee

    this is a case of a judge “doing it by the numbers”. somewhere in the proceedings part of the judicial manual it may very well have said keep your comments positive and do not presume guilt or innocence.but even as a woman she should have felt that this was a time to just stick to the basics of procedure and put the wider communities repugnance of this crime first.  was she  paying attention when he admitted his guilt?

  • Alex

    It symptomatic of this ‘they’re victims too, so don’t blame them or else they’ll feel marginalised”.  It is based on the very dubious premise that, deep down, there really is a nice, respectable, reasonable middle class person; who just hasn’t had the chance to express their middle class-ness; and who has been misunderstood and needs the opportunity to tell their story.  And by being gentle towards them, they will bring out their middle class-ness.   The judiciary is infected by this disease.  As is the Ministry of Justice. As is the media, as shown by the following:


    It is time that we as a society started articulating, at every level of society, the basic values each and every one should show at all times; and deal harshly with people (and negligent families) who do not do so. Our failure to do so is being exploited by those who simply don’t share those values.


  • Blair Mulholland

    Well I thought it was nice that the ape-creature prayed to God, and I think one of his cellmates should arrange a meeting between the two ASAP.

  • excuse me

    I note that the Judge and the three barristers quoted as agreeing with her comments are all females. Shoulder-to-shoulder in defence of the sisterhood? Just like old times in government with Clark, Wilson, Dyson, Street, King, Dalzeil and the rest of that crew (not to mention our beloved Dame Sylvia). 

    • Anonymous

      I find your comment quite naive. If there were no women in the government and/or the so-called justice system, you would have to make the exact comment about them all being men!

      • Thorn

        But they are not men, even though most have the same sexual preferences as most males. So in a sense, they are not even  proper women are they?

    • Gazzaw

      You forgot Sean Elias.

    • Guest

      You missed Sian

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Edwards. I thought the remark was completely inappropriate and showed very poor judgement by the judge.
    If this is any indication as to how she will conduct the trial, then I’d say this bastard will be back on the street within days.

    • Anonymous

      This is where name supression becomes a nuisance, I’m sure someone out there would love to give him a more appropriate punishment. As usual, the victim gets to live with more misery than the offender.

      I hope the judges comments aren’t a sign pending a weak sentence.

      • The Gantt Guy

        I don’t think there’s any chance of his name remaining a secret in the long-term. There are plenty of sites happy to publish the name as soon as it is known.

        And once his name is known, I think justice will be done unto him.

      • It isn’t secret

      • Anonymous

        Travdog & The Gnatt Guy

        Why leave it up to someone else, if I put his name up here right now what would you do?  Everyone in his cell block knows, everybody in Turangi and Taupo knows and nobody has done fuck all, why?

        Because for the tough talk no one wants to do 15 years and secondly if my information is good he will be being looked after .

      • EX Navy Greg

        Easy to find. Google turangi rapist and see what you find. The sites have been removed but it’s still in google’s cache.Same name as his father.

  • Paul Rain

    Pretty sure a comment ‘to encourage the young person to continue to take that care’ does not need to be any more positive than “At least you aren’t wearing a hoodie.”

  • Steve and Monique

    Cant gold plate dog shit,but can roll it in glitter.Still dog shit.Mr Edwards,it is nice to see you to are unhappy with what this judge said.Sadly this approach is used for all the scumbags who front up to the courts everyday.This time around,because of the family of the victim being upset,we got to hear about it.Otherwise keep up the good acting crims,and if you can show any semblence of humanity in your scumbag soul we will let you have some lenient sentence.It should be, the time fitted the crime.If you want to try and fool the judge etc,then tough,wont work.Reform can come from many years locked away,and if you do the worst,dont expect to see the light of day,till you leave in a box.Fucking namby pamby pc bullshit has permeated in to all areas of this country.Lets get back to basics,and see it for what it is, A Disgrace.

  • Notrotsky

    Meh – Don’t really care what the judge said in this instance. I’ll be much more interested in the sentence that is handed down as that’s the real litmus test.

  • So Edwards doesn’t agree with the Judge’s words.

    It is mainly because of namby pamby liberals like Brian and his fucked in the head extreme left voting patterns that we have such Judges.

  • I hate liberals

    Redbaiter said

  • cant stand pinkos

    i agree with redbaiter said.

  • Anonymous

    And once again what passes for a legal system in this country turns into a benefit for the offender ,and his victim( a 5yr old child bashed unrecognisable ,needing facial and elsewhere reconstructive surgery) is forgotten already by the judge and legal advocates.
    The offender getting credit for its doing what its legal advisor has told it to do and reading out some halfbaked plea to a skyfairy and getting its mum to rent it a suit and get it a haircut.
    Jeebus fucking wept, what a fucking joke this country has become.

  • kevin

    Maybe if the Judges grand daughter had been the victim, some reality might be shown.

    • Paddles83

      The judge wouldn’t have a granddaughter ………….with remarks like that I would say she is from the Pinko Brigade

  • Dad4justice

    These deranged liberal judges are scum of the earth sewer rats.

    I hope he is “looking smart” in A Block Mainstream RemandUnit.
     Sicko kid going get cut up stupid Ms Judge!
    You just put a price on his head silly Ms Judge, but thanks as he needs to learn the hard way.
    I hope he gets shafted over bad while in prison.
    Stupid judge should be locked up with such filth.

    What has happened to our sick justice system?

  • Phar Lap

    Maybe the judge would like a one to one with the unnamed but not unknown. ” WITH NO HOLDS BARRED” if only it went on u tube.The trouble is she might like it.

  • History of Violence

    Hypothetical Scenario
    Imagine if we lived in a country where we didn’t have confidence that for example scum like this would get an appropriate sentence, or that the limp wristed judiciary were already signaling a light sentence already by complimenting the guilty (by admission) offenders dress code for example.(Lucky this doesn’t happen in NZ) could a group of like minded people legally create an off shore fund to cover the legal expenses and support the family of a 3rd party who at some later stage did something to help educate the aforementioned scum? Without breaking the law and offering reward directly to that 3 Party, Any purely hypothetical suggestions?
    “Evil thrives when good men do nothing” or something like that

    • notavictim

      I’m in. Post the acc number.

  • bb

    the whole concept of acknowledging and near congratulating a rapist of a 5yr old or any age for that matter sounds like something out of the law book of 1875. archaic and unnecessary and out of touch with the sentiment of todays society. he’s still a piece of shit sugar coated in fancy clothes or not.

    • Paul Rain

      Hardly- someone of 1875 would have been expected to dress properly, and would have done so. It would have been surprising if they did not, and they would have been chastised had they not done so.

    • Alex

      I think not.  In 1875 he would have been hanged, assuming the local people hadn’t lynched him first.  This crap from the Youth Court is just a modern aberration, doubtlessly from the same 1970s theorist who stated that kids should call their parents by their first names.

  • Stu

    And if the offender had turned up in Court dressed in rags and dirty, you’d all be saying how he didn’t show the victim and her family any respect by doing so. 

    One small comment, maybe said to get the offenders focus, and people carry on like he was given a royal pardon?  Can’t anyone think for themselves anymore?

    • phronesis

      Sack cloth and ashes would be quite appropriate for the truly penitent.

    • Sarrs

      The point isn’t what he was wearing – it was that the judge took the time to compliment him on his attire. A comment that seems somewhat inappropriate given the nature of his crimes. 

  • Islandscooter58

    …this piece of dog poo forced his 16 year old penis into the orifice of a 5 year old. I understand the little tot might also have missing teeth after the attack plus other injuries. So before any of you do gooders jump to this lowlifes defence just imagine what that little baby had to endure! How would you feel if this happened to your child? This stupid judge should get training in diplomacy and tact.

  • jay cee

    what is taking over from reason here is a lynch mob mentality. justice will be served of that i have no doubt.one of the tenets of sentencing is to reflect societies repugnance at the crime committed. i dare say the judge will have got the message loud and clear.

  • EX Navy Greg

    I hope so JC, but I doubt it. Max penalty for rape is 20 yrs. Deduct25% for early guilty plea, another 25% for his age,another 10% for “showing remorse”… he will be walking the streets with our children in 7-9 years max. Meanwhile an innocent little girl will have the psychological and physical injuries to deal with for life.
    This guy is a well known recidivist burglar, he knows how to work the system.

    • Quintin Hogg

      2 things,

      1. The Youth Court Judge who dealt with this individual won’t be the sentencing judge.

      2.In a thread yesterday the Court of Appeal case R v Am was discussed.  That case established bands of sentencing for sexual assaults.  Reading that case this offending falls within band three of the bands established by that decision.  There is likely to be a sentence between 12 – 18 years.  My view is it will be at the higher end of the band because of the agravating features of the case.  Countered against that will be allowances, themselves mandated by the Sentencing Act and other decisions of the Court of Appeal, including Hessell, such as the age of the offender and the early plea which will reduce the sentence from the initial starting point by about 25-35%.

      I’m picking a sentence of somewhere between 14-15 years.

      • Anonymous

        I’m picking a sentence of somewhere between 14-15 years.

        I do not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation, but I pray to God that you correct.

      • EX Navy Greg

        Thanks for the information, I too, hope you are correct.Apart from the early plea, I can’t see any mitigating factors at all in this one, and a lot of aggravating factors.

      • Pharmachick

        your knowledgeable appraisal of this case and willingness to share on this Blog have been very interesting and, to some extent; quite comforting. I am sure you understand that people don’t deal well in a vacuum and IMHO that’s when the rhetoric etc gets silly (at best) or dangerous (at worst). 

        So, THANK YOU for your comments these last few days.

        I hope you are correct about the sentence here, but I worry you are out 4-5 years and this offender will end up with 9-12. I have access to sufficient libraries that I looked up R v AM as well as the other one you were discussing with GPT … [disclaimer: no formal legal training] but I see how the sentencing judge could go as low as 9. Sad.

        I strongly believe in working with and within the law… but when society is so aghast and angry, we seriously do need to look at whether current sentencing precedents and guidelines are adequate to what the population as w whole expects. This includes statutory changes as well as a serious discussion of the culture within the judiciary. 


      • Quintin Hogg

        Greg, Pharmachick, I hope I am right too.

      • EX Navy Greg

        Yep I have just read through R v AM, and agree top end of band three, It would probably need to be multiple offending to qualify band four.
        Agree with Pharmachick, Thank you for your knowledge on this Quintin.

    • Alex

      Two or three people above have bewailed the lynch mob thing going on here.  While I agree punishment needs to have both retribution and rehabilitation elements, one does wonder (as is the case here) whether some crimes show that the person is beyond hope of rehabilitation and shouldn’t be given a second chance.

      Interesting that he’s a recidivist burglar.  Agree it shows that he knows how to work the system, aided and abetted by his mum, lawyers, social workers etc etc.  The karakia nonsense is just a PR stunt. 

      Perhaps my most distasteful experience of my training to be admitted to the Bar was the sentencing submissions module.  We were taught to say things like, for example, of a hypothetical wealthy white collar criminal that “my client is a well respected pillar of the community, whose conviction has resulted in him being ostracised by his neighbours in [insert posh suburb name].”  Had a career crisis there and then.  

      • EX Navy Greg

        This crime is so atrocious I don’t think that rehabilitation is even an option.
        Apparantely it is not unusual that rapist’s have often started as burglars.

      • I’m always for rehabilitation where I think it is viable so very much a case by case issue & I am completely against any vigilantism – the law is there, what we need is judges to have the courage & integrity to execute it.

        In terms of this boy I honestly don’t think he can be rehabilitated – what he did was so vile beyond comprehension & very much on par with NZ’s worst & also with what happened to James Bulger…those perpetrators got a second chance & they were only 10…yet what happened…..10 years later one of them is at it again.

        What should happen is that he gets sentenced in an adult court to the maximum extent of the law (so 20 years non parole) & his siblings all get removed from his parents with the whole family separated & forced into therapy until we can be sure that no one else is capable of this (or any) kind of crime. 

        Any babies/toddlers/young children should be removed from their care permanently.

      • Ex navy greg – at what point does he become a rapist rather than a child rapist/predator?

        As a female I see rape as the worst of the worst, but as a mother, when someone beats & rapes a child it is just so much worse.

        Sadly though ‘standard’ rape is treated far more seriously than any form of child abuse.

        I would like the courts to always treat any form of child abuse & violation in the same way they would treat the most brutal rape & murder.

      • EX Navy Greg

        Totally agree, that’s why in my opinion no allowance should be made for his age. He has committed the worst crime that an adult can do, and should be sentenced accordingly.

      • Pharmachick

        that is a really awful tale. I hope you have come to terms with it.

        Meanwhile, I do actually agree with EX-Navy Greg: I think this crime is evidence of a criminal that is beyond rehabilitation. 

        Ex-NG … the burglar/rapist thing actually depends on whether they are inherently ‘thieves’ or something else. The latter is not pretty, and the best of them may become rapists: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_killer (please note that in ~22 hours, this link will be inactive for 12 hours to protest SOPA),

      • EX Navy Greg

        Very good link Pharmachick. I think mostly  the first offense is opportunistic,burgle a house, see a hottie in bed and so on, After that, who knows. Until we hear about his background it’s hard to guess. My gut feeling is that there is a gang tie up here somewhere, and I don’t think this arrest will be the last.

  • Super Guest

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the worst part of NZ is  our justice system. Specifically the way we molly coddle criminals and ignore getting justice for the victims. But any system where a judge is moved to call a raping paedophile “smart looking” needs to be torn down and replaced with something sane.

  • I would like to see the full transcript of what the Judge said. From what I have gathered re the snippets of what the other lawyers have said, commenting on appearance seems to be part of what is due process?

    That aside, the worst part has to be his prayer – honestly what a fucked up boy. What he did was cruel, sadistic, revolting & vile beyond comprehension. 

    The fact that his mother can have the audacity & callousness to say “he’s not like that” and for the judge to consider it was even ok for his prayer to be read out in court shows some judges are just absolute wankers who condone the violation of women & children

    To me this judge shows that nothing has changed since the maximum sentence for rape was increased in 2000 to 20 years with many judges offering their ‘legal opinion’ and saying that it was unfair as some rape was (in so many words) justified/not actually rape (each husband of wife etc).

    This boy needs to be tried in an adult court & sentenced 20 years non parole at least.

    The law needs to prove to us that it values our children. It is there – we don’t need changes, we need the bloody judges to start exercising their full powers & prove to us they have a moral compass.

    • Anonymous

      I second that – I would like to know what what the ‘accused’ and his family have to say for themselves. 

      Do you think judges are on the lookout for cases to make their name on? Like, oh look at me – I’m the judge that rehabilitated the Turangi Child Rapist. Same with those filthy defence lawyers (Judith Ablett-Kerr, QC…Robert Lithgow, QC) who represent murderers who simply want to sully the names of their victims in a trial, Clayton Weatherston et al. Are they just looking to make a name for themselves, consequences be damned? 

    • Thorn

      Well said. 

  • I_Wish_it_were_different

    This country has become a fkn haven for lazy , violent, bludging, shit-eating filth like this. It is galactically SICK !! … and is probably now irrepairable. It has been left too long, exacerbated by the idiots posing as “judges” who have completely lost contact with reality. Even if a 15 year sentence is handed out, it is trifling. This subhuman creep deserves far worse, but I doubt we are going to see it and I wholeheartedly wish I could make it happen. also – who was the moronic local fat tart being interviewed in the street on TVNZ news stupidly having the gall to comment that the sack of shit has destroyed HIS life ??!!! (huh?).Here’s a scenario – and a true story which in fact haunts me about this place. We were in Europe on a train – kilometres outside the city on the mediterannean coast.(name withheld to avoid the inevitable PC bullshit do-gooder debaters). It was just after midnight. Amongst the few civilised commuters returning home at that hour, either reading books or happily dozing, four people were returning from a string quartet recital and decided to start playing. If you can imagine arriving at a 100+ year old train station in the country, listening to the disappearing sound of a culture with attitude – I rest my case. No AHoles with peaked caps turned backwards and hoodies, no vomiting agression, no filth, no eyeballing people in order to gain an excuse for punching the shit of of anyone …. you get the idea. What a fkd up feral society we live in.

    • Steve and Monique

      For sure,and will only get worse if we keep pandering to the so called hard done by 1st arrivals(debatable). Lets wipe our arse on this treaty,and get on with sorting out the problem,not allowing this hand out mentality that has arrived to continue,and deal with the arseholes who feel the are owed something in the manner it deserves,with a big fuck off,and go work for a living.

  • I_Wish_it_were_different

    Here we go again.
    “Defence lawyer Sarah Antunovic asked Judge Bruce Davidson to excuse Taiapa’s appearance in Wellington District Court today, saying he was on bail in the Christchurch area and an appearance in the capital would mean he had to spend two weeks in custody.
    Judge Davidson granted the exemption and set down a week for the trial”
    48 fkn charges including 5 of rape … indecent assault, common assault, sex charges, 18 firearms offences.And this arsehole has impressed the judge enough to not only be on the street on bail, but also that it would be too harsh on him to spend interim time in custody as he is in a different city ????
    Why is this shitbag even breathing ? possibly the defence lawyer has been “persuasive”