Rodney Hide on National’s arrogance

Rodney Hide gives a classic example of the sort of arrogance that John Key said that he has no room in his government for:

Arrogance. Prime Minister John Key warned of it when he was elected for a third term. Attorney General Chris Finlayson personifies it.

We are angry and horrified at the brutal torturing and killing of little Moko. The Crown then inexplicably downgraded the charge from murder to manslaughter. Our anger and horror turned to the Crown. How could that be?

Finlayson slammed commentary on the subject as “dangerous and ill-informed”. Of course we are ill-informed. We can’t understand the decision.

But dangerous? In what way exactly?

Finlayson promised he would explain after sentencing “in words of one syllable”. He clearly sees the commentators as stupid as well as dangerous.

Following this week’s sentencing we now have Finlayson’s explanation.

It falls shockingly short.

“Based on the evidence available for trial, there was a substantial risk that one or both of the defendants would not be convicted of the legal charge of murder or manslaughter.

“To prove the legal charge of murder in this case, the Crown was required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Moko’s fatal injuries were inflicted with murderous intent.”

I am not an expert. I do not hold office. I have not followed “robust process”.

And again I risk incurring the Attorney General’s wrath, but he is wrong.

Chris Finlayson can be funny, but he is also solopsistic, arrogant and consumed with his own hubris.

The test that the Crimes Act provides is not “murderous intent”.

It’s sufficient if “the offender means to cause to the person killed any bodily injury that is known to the offender to be likely to cause death, and is reckless whether death ensues or not”.

Justice Katz summarised the test when sentencing: “You have only been convicted of manslaughter and therefore, for sentencing purposes, I must assume that you did not intend to kill Moko, and that you did not foresee that your violent assaults on him might cause his death.”

The Attorney General is wrong in the necessity of “murderous intent” and doesn’t trouble himself in his prepared statement to explain how one or both could have escaped manslaughter should the murder charge have failed.

The downgrade to manslaughter is a disgrace to justice, an insult to civil society, and a further abuse of a poor little boy already brutally abused and killed.

What other intent was there when these two scumbags did what was described by the judge in court?

“You both assaulted Moko continuously and encouraged each other as the offending escalated. You embarked on a joint campaign of violence against a defenceless and extremely vulnerable child.

“The offending was extremely cruel and callous, with neither of you seeking medical help for Moko while he lay dying.”


When delivering the sentence, Justice Katz said to the pair that Moko “died at your hands in the most brutal way and your sentence must reflect that”.

She said had it not been for the guilty pleas entered by the pair, affording them a discount on their sentence, they would have faced a sentence of life imprisonment.

Moko’s family cried as the judge went over the gruelling details of the toddler’s death. Her mother sobbed as the Judge described Haerewa rubbing faeces into Moko’s face. She then left the courtroom.


Shailer and Haerewa tortured Moko by kicking him, stomping on him and slapping him. They rubbed his own faeces in his face. He was eventually beaten to the point where he suffered facial swelling, internal bleeding, septic shock from his leaking bowel and swelling of the brain.

Moko was left for four days suffering those injuries before the couple rang 111, saying he had fallen off a wood pile.


Haerewa admitted to police that he continually assaulted Moko, especially during the four days prior to his death.

The main injuries that caused the toddler’s death were inflicted by Shailer, who forcefully stomped on his abdomen and stomach. The summary states it is unclear when she did this, but evidence suggests it was on August 6.

By August 9 Moko could barely walk, had major swelling to the face, kept falling to the ground and was defecating and vomiting frequently.

Moko suffered lacerations and haemorrhaging deep within his abdomen and, coupled with older bruising and damage, a rupture to his bowel.

On August 10 Shailer phoned 111 saying Moko had fallen from a wood pile the day before, sustaining severe bruising. She told the operator that he had been fine earlier in the day but was now “really cold, unconscious, not breathing properly and that his stomach was really hard”.

Upon arriving at Shailer and Haerewa’s address and seeing the visual injuries and condition of Moko, paramedic staff rushed him straight to the emergency department at Taupo Hospital. By 10pm that evening Moko’s ordeal had ended – he was pronounced dead.

So, tell me again how this could in anyway be described as accidental. It was a two-month sustained, brutal assault on a little boy by two animals.

Rodney Hide is right and Chris Finlayson is wrong.

Perhaps John Key might like to remind Finlayson of the Prime Minister’s statement this weekend about there being no place for arrogance in his government.


– NZ Herald

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