Charles Blackie

No sentence for woman “Te Reo” brawler

She made up her story, was actually the aggressor, pimped her bullshit to the media and laid a false complaint with Police…and she still got off.

An Auckland woman who claimed she was assaulted for speaking Te Reo has escaped penalty after she herself pleaded guilty to assault over the incident.

Shona Louise Maiden, 46, appeared in the Manukau District Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to an assault charge in January.

Maiden had initially claimed she had been assaulted by a man, who she said attacked her after taking offence to her saying “ka kite ano” (see you later) to friends after celebrating New Year’s Eve.

However, after reviewing security footage, police said Maiden’s version of events did not match what was seen on CCTV cameras.

The footage reportedly showed Maiden smoking outside the bar with a man. They were said to have exchanged a few words before Maiden slapped him on the head. When the man didn’t retaliate she punched him.   Read more »

Two good judges and a dud judge

The Rotorua Daily Post reports on the scumbags who assaulted some German tourists on Boxing Day.

He put them away and denied name suppression.

Four of the five people charged with aggravated robbery for a Boxing Day attack on two German tourists in Whakatane have been sent to jail.

Judge Louis Bidois also declined further name suppression for the three youth offenders when they appeared in the Whakatane District Court today.

Mark Wikotu, now 19, was jailed for four years and four months; Antonia Biddle, 15, was jailed for three years and three months; Marshall Poihipi, now 16, was jailed for four years and six months; and younger brother Jason Poihipi, 14, was jailed for three years and three months.

Biddle and the Poihipis were each ordered to pay $1000 reparation to the victims.

Wikotu will be held at Waikeria Prison in Waikato, while placements at CYF secure facilities will be requested for the three youth offenders.

A fifth person, a 17-year-old, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated robbery and unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle.

Then there is the case where Judge Blackie got it right this time:

An Auckland teacher has been sentenced to nine years and six months’ jail for sexual offending, offering to supply methamphetamine and attempting to flee the country to avoid trial.

Damien Christopher Gillard, 43, was sentenced on charges of sexual grooming, unlawful sexual connection with girls under 16 and offering to supply methamphetamine. The offending took place between 1994 and 2012.

Last year, Gillard tried to make a fake passport in an attempt to flee the country to avoid trial.

Gillard was a Papatoetoe High School teacher before being suspended in 2012 after the offending.

When he was arrested in July, Papatoetoe High principal Peter Gall wrote to parents whose children had potentially been affected to tell them Gillard had been suspended.

There were seven victims who were either current or past pupils of Gillard at Greenmeadows Intermediate School or Papatoetoe High.

In the Manukau District Court today, Judge Charles Blackie said Gillard had abused the trust pupils, parents and the community put in teachers.

“A high level is expected of schoolteachers in dealing with students,” he said.

Students were vulnerable and teachers were in a “somewhat privileged and protected position” because of the authority and control they had over their pupils.

“In this case, you have grossly abused that authority,” he said.

Read more »

Southland Times editorial on Press Council changes

The Southland Times editorial is very good on the changes the Press Council is making to include bloggers.

Sometimes the news media need to grab their ankles for a health check.

This being the case, it’s a welcome development that bloggers and other digital media are being offered to partake in the process, by means of membership of the Press Council.

It’s a body that weighs up complaints against principles including accuracy, fairness, balance, privacy, confidentiality, discrimination, the use of subterfuge, the distinction of comment and fact, and conflicts of interest.

Inviting independent digital media to succumb to such extra scrutiny not only brings more accountability but, equally, credibility.

It doesn’t do any news or current affairs media any harm to be found out when they have seriously erred, nor to have their judgments independently endorsed, as occasionally happens too.

Nowhere is it written that those running their own websites must now form an orderly queue and join up. But the absence of a self-regulatory body has become an issue for those bloggers and sites that have become heavy hitters. And those who aspire to be. So they should be willing to join up.

[This is provided the yet-to-be-confirmed costs aren’t disproportionately high compared with their income and that they are fairly represented on the complaints panel.]  Read more »

Southland Times editorial on me, journalism and the law

The Southland Times editorial doesn’t like me, but they have still come out against Judge Blackie’s decision.

He is heavy and he ain’t our brother.

In journalistic terms, Cameron Slater is more like one of those relatives that you don’t get to choose. A distant one, we’d like to think.

The Whale Oil blogger forces us to reconsider the boundaries of what constitutes a journalist. It pains us to acknowledge kinship of any sort. But we do.

Right now he’s embroiled in a defamation hearing, during which a High Court judge has ruled he’s not a real journo, so cannot rely on the special – though still sorely limited – protections journalists have to keep their sources secret.

And that’s a ruling that cannot stand.

Whether Cameron Slater is a good journalist is a different argument from whether he is one at all.  Read more »

Herald Editorial on my appeal

The editorial in the NZ Herald today lends its support to my appeal.

Blogger Cameron Slater has been told by a Manukau District Court judge his “Whaleoil” website is not a news medium. This will surprise everybody aware of the Len Brown affair. Whaleoil broke that story and was almost alone among news media in covering the seamy details. Muckraking to that degree might not be to everyone’s taste but if anybody wants to rake it or read it, they have a right to do so. The ruling by District Court Judge Charles Blackie will not stop them but it denies Whaleoil a right asserted by all news media to protect their sources from discovery in court.

The case has nothing to do with the Brown affair. Slater is defending an action for defamation on a different subject. The judge’s ruling is important for its general application to news and comment online, and possibly for the future regulation of mainstream media too.

Judge Blackie has decided the website does not come within the definition of a news medium in the Evidence Act 2006: “a medium for the dissemination to the public or a section of the public of news and observations on news”.

He appears to regard a blog as a private and personal indulgence. He quotes a passage in the Law Commission’s 2011 report on media regulation that said, “blog sites are not democratic forums”, they were “often highly partisan” and “can be highly offensive and personally abusive”.   Read more »

A reader emails about not being media

A reader emails:

Dear Cameron

Well it looks like Judge Charles Blackie has quite clearly judged ‘Whale Oil Beef Hooked’ not to be a news medium. It is interesting he makes reference to a Law Commission report. I was initially impressed when he referenced this Commission until I realised that this Commission has no legal authority but can only make recommendation to Parliament regarding areas of the law. The Commission has no more legal authority than any single individual person.

The Honourable Judge did not reference a report by Auckland University of Technology’s Journalism, Media and Democracy Centre which arguably has a greater understanding of the position and  role of NZ’s blogosphere. Report author and AUT communication studies lecturer Merja Myllylahti said more people were turning to New Zealand’s “blogosphere” for information. She is quoted as saying  “It is not surprising that citizen journalists and bloggers have started to take a more active role. The blogosphere is thriving right now because it provides an alternative to commercially focused media. The use of the word ‘alternative’ is significant.  Read more »

Sunday Star-Times – friend of the crims

Some free advice for the Sunday Star Times.

If you want to stop losing readers at an alarming rate, quit writing stories which are sympathetic to hardened criminals, while at the same time avoiding any discussion about the victims of their crimes.

In the latest example we hear lots about the crim’s life being ruined, but not a thing about the misery she caused.

A violent criminal has had her 15-year jail sentence reduced by three years after judges deemed she was too young for such harsh punishment.

But Amy Jayne Opetaia’s 12-year sentence means she could still spend more time behind bars than many killers and the country’s worst fraudsters.

Opetaia was 19 at the time of her Bonnie-and-Clyde style crime spree with then boyfriend Quentin Tinau Stephens. The pair’s drug-fuelled crimes included burglary, kidnapping and a series of violent street robberies.  Read more »