Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Living with the psychopath

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  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    It would hardly be the first or only retroactive law change

    No, but they are used sparingly and very, very, very rarely on matters criminal. Even the retroactive authorisation of police surveillance (which wasn't about punishment or criminality) triggered a whole lot of angst because it was retroactive, without getting into the other aspects of a surveillance state, etc.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    These trends have real impact on public perceptions of crime and punishment and these have political consequences.

    Russell, I'm in broad agreement with you on this, but like some others who've posted here my views are coloured by the kind of personal experience that I'd rather hadn't happened.

    When I had to deal with a neighbour from hell situation, where the police and my MP proved ineffective, I checked out the person concerned on Sensible Sentencing's online register. Should I have refrained from doing so on principle? In the circumstances that kind of consideration seemed a bit academic. That said, I probably have no more sympathy than you do for Garth McVicar's agenda, insofar as I'm able to understand it.

    When I put it to my MP that we as a community have a social duty to carry a level of nuisance criminal behaviour in our midst, but the situation I found myself in was beyond any kind of reasonable endurance, he replied that usually these things happened in low income areas. An interesting observation from a progressive Labour MP.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4523 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    When I had to deal with a neighbour from hell situation, where the police and my MP proved ineffective, I checked out the person concerned on Sensible Sentencing’s online register. Should I have refrained from doing so on principle?

    I use that information relatively regularly, actually. It's all in the public domain and generally reliable.

    I was referring specifically to the US situation – where people have been placed on 10-year "predatory sex offender" registers for having a pee in an alleyway (I am not exaggerating – this happened to a friend of a friend). Boys have been put on registers for age-of-consent violations with their girlfriends. A couple have committed suicide as a result.

    But in a general sense, it’s unhelpful to have many people believe things about criminal justice policy and the level of crime that simply aren’t true.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Boys have been put on registers for age-of-consent violations with their girlfriends

    Both sides have ended up on sex offender registers for "child porn" offences involving sexting, because they're both under the age of consent for pornographic participation, too. The US situation is utterly fucking ridiculous.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I use that information relatively regularly, actually. It’s all in the public domain and generally reliable.

    What about Crimestoppers' 0800 line? Any good or bad experiences from that?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5328 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    The US situation is utterly fucking ridiculous.

    And it doesn't stop there, of course. "Three strikes" and mandatory minimum sentences -- both of which play to public hysteria -- have, with the assistance of lunatic prosecutors, done a great job of putting thousands of the wrong people in jail for ever.

    The small-c conservative American Bar Association released a damning report on those elements of the US judicial system a few years ago, concluding that they tend to make crime worse, not better. Nothing changed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    teenagers, are not that nasty

    Steve, pray tell, where do you live?
    Where I live, teenagers bullying each other to death has become enough of a problem that no lesser beings than the Chief Coroner and the Law Commission are proposing curtailment of electronic expression to try and stem the tide.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Steve, pray tell, where do you live?

    Sunny Mt Roskill, where all the children are angelic and play hopscotch in the falling blossom.
    :-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to DexterX,

    t is particular to what I will call the “NZ Psychosis” – the profound lack of insight

    And just what would *that* be, Dexter X?

    And your authority to be able to diagnose this hitherto unknown condition?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    We all know these crimes are massively under reported, and convictions rates are low… Maybe being caught and doing a program reduces your re-offending, or maybe re-offending just isnt being detected?

    It's not a comparison with non-offenders. It's a comparison between offenders who did the programme, and offenders who didn't. So the under-reporting works for both of them. We can draw a strong conclusion from the relative difference in recidivism that the programme actually works reasonably well.

    This is the bit that gets me, why should the victims need protecting from public knowledge? they are victims. I find it quite sickening that society still treats the victims of sexual assault as if there were a stigma attached to being a victim and that, in some way, the victim is responsible for their own suffering..

    The law doesn't prevent the victim talking about their experience with people and doesn't cover up the abuse.

    It provides name suppression to the victim, and the offender, to protect the victim. Imagine an eight year old child returning to school after being sexually abused. That would be hard enough without half the kids in your class knowing that you'd been abused.

    It also protects these victims from being groomed by other criminals. Making their name available is going to put a target on them.

    You can make a good argument for victims, once adults, being able to make their own choice about the lifting of suppression so they can speak out. When they're children? C'mon.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6242 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    You can make a good argument for victims, once adults, being able to make their own choice about the lifting of suppression so they can speak out.

    That particular case has already been made, successfully. It is possible for adults to apply to have the order suppressing publication of their identifying details lifted. That is, however a choice that they are making, not one that is being made for them irrevocably.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Yes, can we please not blanketly discuss these offenders and the treatment programmes in exclusively black and white terms?

    I was a victim of sexual abuse as a child. I have had a young family member recently complete a programme as an offender. Let me tell you, finding out about his offending rang a lot of bells for me.

    However, for him, receiving that treatment was the best thing for him. His offense was not anywhere near Murray's league; he is young enough and the signs are very encouraging that it will work.

    I strongly believe that lumping my young family member into the same regime Murray should be subjected to - preventative detention, if it were available - or the arsehole who abused me (prison, I wish) would be incredibly counter-productive. Where possible, rehabilitation/treatment should be the primary objective.

    Perhaps even more so in abuse cases, because of that trail of damage they leave behind. Universal witch hunts would not be conducive to the aim of catching them young and treatable.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 669 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I use that information relatively regularly, actually. It's all in the public domain and generally reliable.

    While the information is in the public domain, what little I've accessed didn't appear to be on line anywhere else. Apart from SS's comparatively detailed entry, a general Google of the particular individual yielded two old newspaper court case reports representing a fraction of their apparent offending, and an unanswered question on Old Friends asking if anyone knew how they'd turned out after leaving intermediate school.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4523 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Wilson set for another sentence
    As much as this guy is a problem, he would have been better off with staying in jail. What the community is planning and a new retrospective law that Judith Collins wants to introduce seems like we will get a trade off of human rights. On a day where our human rights are being addressed in a positive way along comes the mouth to say how about we throw away a Judge ordered sentence once served and give the offender another one if we don't like them.
    Out will go early release for good behaviour (which is the whole point of jail), out goes any guarantee of one ever being released, and out will go any chance of reintergration or rehabilitation if the community "a la Salem , Michael Laws" wants to witch hunt. JMO
    It would have been simpler to educate the public as to warn them of his appearance and his modus operandi. By knowing what he looks like and that he has a minder, I will know how to handle him if he crosses my path, he doesn't scare me in the slightest. But I certainly don't like the scaremongering that seems equivalent of what Louisa Wall is dealing with.

    .

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Out will go early release for good behaviour

    source for that?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19413 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Sacha,

    source for that?

    If an offender was coming up for a release and possibly early for good behaviour, to then put that person back through a process to rejail them would render the early release useless.
    That is my understanding that Judith Collin’s was suggesting on tv3 last night. To make the law retrospective would do that for some.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    This wouldn't apply to people eligible for early release. Bad idea for other reasons.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19413 posts Report Reply

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