I sometimes wonder who that stranger is in front of me at the checkout counter. Is he/she a child abuser? A rapist? A thief? A drunk driver? A conman, a vicious thug or a bungling idiot?
The trouble is that we don’t know and the authorities, in an effort to allegedly ‘protect the innocent’ are hanging out the rest of us like fresh meat in the jungle.
The judges who think they know what is best for us and the politicians who ‘know’ they know best are determined that we should not know who to be wary of or who to run a mile from. Never mind that many more of us will fall prey to the criminal tendencies and the reckless actions of people who are being protected by what is essentially a crock of shit.
We can’t know the names of the two pieces of flotsam that locked their 9 year old daughter in a cupboard, and tortured her and beat her in what amounts to one of the most heinous and sickly perverted examples of child abuse you could think of. The excuse we are given by the judge is that if we were to know it would then lead us to identification of the victims.
There are several things wrong with this approach. While it is true the naming of the parents would ipso facto lead to the identification of the kids, it is first important to remember these kids will already be known to close relatives and anyone else who rocked up to the court. So in a way the cat is already out of the bag, but what worries me more is how these orders bind everyone concerned. In real terms one presumes the victims are also bound by such an order. If they weren’t there wouldn’t be much point in granting it would there? Because this effectively means these kids have to walk around with this terrible secret locked inside them and are only ever able to discuss it with counsellors. I can’t help but feel having to keep shtumm about such things is probably far more harmful in the long run. Covering the thing up sends a message to the kid that this is somehow shameful (for them) when in reality they have nothing to be ashamed of. They need to know that victims should never take on the shame that belongs fairly and squarely upon the shoulders of the offenders.
It is also unfair that the community is not going to know when these people are released back into their midst. This is possibly not so important in this case but it certainly is important in cases involving paedophiles, thugs, or others who perpetrate crimes upon the general population.
And regarding the bungling idiots I referred to at the beginning of this blog, there are few more adept at this type of behaviour than our District and High Court judges. I think they should be made to wear some kind of identification when out in public (do they ever go out in public?). Something understated like a dunce’s hat would suffice.
You might think that a tad harsh, but it is an almost daily event to be gobsmacked by the latest judicial fuck-up hitting the headlines. I’m not just talking about minor errors either. One that has recently slipped by with hardly a murmur from anyone is the case of Olinale Ah You who was convicted of killing 80-year-old Manurewa woman Yan Ping Yang who he beat to a bloody pulp in her own home. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 18 years. But this guy is really nasty; two weeks after attacking Mrs Yang he, went out and attacked another woman. This scumbag has convictions for violent behaviour going back to 1998 and was jailed for 12 years with a minimum parole period of eight in May 2009 on another matter. As the Yang killing took place in 2008, I can only conclude the 2009 sentence was for the later offence. However I was more alarmed to read why Ay You is only just getting sentenced for the killing.
It would seem that when he was first convicted he was given life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 20 years, but the jury was told of his previous convictions before finding him guilty. Who told them is unknown but the judge in the case was Edwin Wylie and as this is basically judicial systems 101 you would have to wonder why he was not sacked on the spot. If someone let that particular cat out of the bag in court his duty was to dismiss the jury and order a retrial BEFORE sentencing. Instead of which this clown went ahead and sentenced Ah You whereupon his lawyer (quite naturally) went to the Court of Appeal to have the conviction quashed which they did.
No doubt all of this cost a great deal of money and no doubt we the taxpayer paid for both sides of the fight and now Ah You’s sentence has been cut by two years into the bargain.
I have since learned the reasons for the retrial were suppressed. I honestly don’t know if they still are, but since the information was still available in one report on the NZ Herald site recently I am assuming the suppression has lapsed. In any event it is not the sort of thing we should be prevented from knowing. This bloody judge is getting paid by us and he ought to be accountable for his performance and we have a right to know when he costs us tens of thousands of dollars through his poor case management.