Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Narcissists and bullies

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    If my Facebook feed is any guide, it is day two and we are already in a full Mazengarb event.

    Great. Looking forward to a mob inspired murder coming to my neighborhood.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Miche Campbell, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Your Facebook feed is not any kind of guide.

    Dunedin • Since Feb 2011 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Seems like consequences are already mounting. Of that news, though, the best part is that more of the guys involved have fronted up to the police. If even one of them tells on the others, then the need for the victims as witnesses drops considerably, and better still, you have a witness who was not totally inebriated.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    ...in a full Mazengarb event.

    at last, an empirical measure for social disorder among youth!

    Kinda like a Beaufort scale for the winds of change...
    What does it go up to?
    11?

    (NB: Report of the Special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents Mazengarb's report is available at Gutenberg)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7881 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young, in reply to Emma Hart,

    And my partner and I have a daughter. I find this situation reprehensible. Granted, there may have needed to be a brief period before the police gathered sufficient information to prosecute these evil misogynist little shits, but they should have acted far sooner than now. As for Facebook, it should have disabled the webpage in question long before now.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 560 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    It seems really common in this day and age for journalists to go direct to people’s Facebook profiles and other similar stuff (instagram, twitter, etc) for info and photos on their and other’s profiles, and then report it to everyone. In this particular case, it’s not just possible to trawl through the lives of those accused, because with some digging it’s also really easy to find info and pictures and videos of at least some of the alleged victims, whether they put it there themselves or it was put there by other people.

    For facebook specifically I know people complain about privacy (and then continue to use it), but do many people actively try to have their facebook pages locked down? I always assume that it’s public but I still checked mine out just now, which I thought was reasonably locked down based on stuff I'd set not that long ago, and found that about a random third of my various posts were flagged as public. Apparently for me, once something’s set to Public when I post it, or once an app (like a photo uploader) decides to push something on as Public, everything that gets posted afterwards gets automatically preset that way.

    Or are those people in media offices simply very generous in making and accepting Facebook friendships for the specific purpose of being able to spider through profiles when they want to?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    I do think there's a danger of a "Mazengarb event", yes, in the sense of a moral panic about a whole generation (and the media it uses). It's not a big shift to "OMG teenagers are having sex!", which of course isn't the point

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Young,

    And my partner and I have a daughter. I find this situation reprehensible. Granted, there may have needed to be a brief period before the police gathered sufficient information to prosecute these evil misogynist little shits, but they should have acted far sooner than now.

    This has been doing my head in. Yes, without formal statements from victims it's difficult to pursue rape charges. But the police have long had more than enough for a warrant -- why didn't they seize phones and computers? As vile as the idea is, it's highly likely these guys documented their offences on video.

    The idea that they had to have formal statements in order to investigate is simply wrong. Indeed, it seems that it's going to be a easier for victims to speak if their statement is but one piece of a great weight of evidence.

    I'd also like to know what kind of support and counselling these girls have had. I know of one victim who is now afraid to leave the house -- is she just being left to that by her school and police? I really hope not.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    If the police knew about these guys for 2 years….what role did the police father of one of them play in any of this? Completely unaware? (Possibly). If not unaware…….then what was said between father and son about such matters?…..(never mind any prosecutions or not). This doesn’t smell right.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    They have an online admission of gang-banging a 14 year-old. That is, gang rape. I think that would get them a warrant so they could seize phones and computers which might contain further evidence.

    Thus spake a criminal law expert with no connection to the Police:

    But the Law Society’s criminal law convenor Jonathan Krebs said in this case, the police had their hands tied in not being able to lay charges against the group.

    “They [Roast Busters] actually have to do something that’s against the law and bragging about something on a website, at the moment that I can see, is not against the law.

    “Just because someone boasted on a website doesn’t mean it’s true and we don’t want to start convicting on bragging.’’

    The worst thing police could do at the moment was to bring a prosecution that was a “bit loose’’, Mr Krebs said.

    “If one of these young ladies were to make a complaint to police, then I would have thought police would take that up and run with it.’’

    All due respect, Russell, I’ll take his word over the armchair legal experts who have weighed in thus far. Bragging on Facebook doesn’t amount to evidence if there are no specifics.

    ETA: I know you talked about a warrant, not a conviction, but Graeme has indicated that bragging online is not likely to be enough to put anything before a judge.
    Hopefully now that there's some cooperation from within the Roasters things will move. Can't help wondering if TV3 found out about this on the quiet from a cop who was frustrated at nothing happening.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    All due respect, Russell, I’ll take his word over the armchair legal experts who have weighed in thus far. Bragging on Facebook doesn’t amount to evidence if there are no specifics.

    You're being disingenuous, Matthew. We're not saying "Can they lay charges on this right now?", we're saying "Can they investigate further? And is this enough for a warrant to seize phones and computers?" To which the answer is clearly yes.

    Because the problem with just "alerting" the schools (at least one of which seems to have done jack shit) and leaving up the page is that more girls got raped. That's really not a very good result.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    ETA: I know you talked about a warrant, not a conviction, but Graeme has indicated that bragging online is not likely to be enough to put anything before a judge.

    Graeme also said they didn't need a complaint to investigate. And I really do not believe a judge would be presented with actual admissions of the rape of underage girls and refuse a warrant. I look forward to your excuse for the police not even testing the possibility.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And is this enough for a warrant to seize phones and computers?” To which the answer is clearly yes.

    I don't know if that's surely true. They want these guys for rape. Photos won't give evidence of consent, which is the crucial point. They could at most get some of them for underage sex. Even then, there is the argument of the underage part being unintentional to mitigate the sentences. I don't think Matthew is being disingenuous. It seems very unlikely to me that the Police are just turning a blind eye and not following up what they can. Its just unfortunate that our legal system is very much geared around witnesses.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And I really do not believe a judge would be presented with actual admissions of the rape of underage girls and refuse a warrant. I look forward to your excuse for the police not even testing the possibility.

    You’re supposing that they haven’t tried, or at least had the discussion with people who really do know what’s required. We just don’t know.

    If you’re so certain that the police have actively dragged their heels, go to the IPCA. It’s what they’re there for, particularly now that they’re moving to concurrent investigations into cases where there are prosecutions underway, instead of waiting until legal proceedings have finished.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    I don’t know if that’s surely true. They want these guys for rape. Photos won’t give evidence of consent, which is the crucial point.

    In the case of girls under 16, it’s not.

    And remember, these guys took videos of themselves and are likely to have video of the offences.

    Also, Crown prosector Simon Moore just told Kathryn Ryan that such “statements against interest” do carry weight. Maybe not enough for a conviction on their own, but I simply don’t believe a judge would refuse a warrant in such circumstances

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    You’re supposing that they haven’t tried, or at least had the discussion with people who really do know what’s required. We just don’t know.

    I'm struggling to believe that given the heat on them at the moment, the police would have omitted to say that they tried for a warrant and a judge refused. Do you believe that?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to BenWilson,

    Its just unfortunate that our legal system is very much geared around witnesses.

    Although it seems witnesses aren't needed, if the suspects happen to live in the Ureweras and are being surveilled upon mere suspicion of terrorism, or if the suspect lives in an exurban mansion and poses a threat to Hollywood cartels.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5414 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to BenWilson,

    They want these guys for rape.

    Precisely. The cops will be gunning for a hefty chunk of 20 years rather than an equivalent chunk of 10 years. Why settle for sexual conduct with person under 16 when there's sexual violation on the cards? The police don't get to go for charge a and then come back again for charge b, and my understanding is that judges aren't thrilled about multiple attempts to get warrants for the same set of offences.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’m struggling to believe that given the heat on them at the moment, the police would have omitted to say that they tried for a warrant and a judge refused. Do you believe that?

    No, I don't, particularly, but it's a possibility that you have completely refused to entertain. There's also the possibility of conversations with police prosecutors, or even informally with a judge, and what they have has been deemed insufficient. The police have interviewed these guys before, remember, and didn't manage to get enough out of those chats for anything to eventuate.

    ETA: There may also be a convention of not revealing failed attempts to get warrants. I certainly don't recall ever seeing it revealed in the press that a warrant was sought but refused and I cannot believe that the judiciary simply rubber-stamp every warrant application, no matter how often that charge might be levelled in their direction.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Precisely. The cops will be gunning for a hefty chunk of 20 years rather than an equivalent chunk of 10 years.

    In either case, they seem to me to have amply met the necessary standard to ask for a warrant:

    When can a search warrant be issued?

    A search warrant may be issued by a court if there are reasonable grounds for believing that in any building, vehicle or other place there is:

    anything on which or in respect of which any offence punishable by imprisonment has been or is suspected of having been committed

    anything that there is reasonable ground to believe will be evidence that an imprisonable offence has been committed, or

    anything that there is reasonable ground to believe is intended to be used to commit an imprisonable offence

    The search warrant should describe the place being searched, the offence involved and the items being searched for.

    Generally search warrants apply only to premises and do not give the Police the right to search the people there.

    Search warrants & access to computers

    Police executing a search warrant on your property may require you to give them information or assistance to allow them to access data that’s held on your computer or that’s accessible from it. You can be required to do this only if:
    you are the owner or hirer of the computer, or someone who has possession or control of it, or an employee of one of those people, or

    you have relevant knowledge of the computer or computer network, or of the computer’s data-protection measures

    If you refuse to comply with the Police, you commit an offence and can be fined up to $2,000 or imprisoned for up to three months.

    I think they had grounds to “suspect” an imprisonable offence had been committed, but feel free to explain how they didn’t.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    In the case of girls under 16, it’s not.

    I'm trying to work out if that's correct from the Crimes Act. Graeme could probably clarify, but maybe that's true in a reading of the sexual violation definition which says:

    128 Sexual violation defined

    (1) Sexual violation is the act of a person who—

    (a) rapes another person; or

    (b) has unlawful sexual connection with another person.

    So the question is whether underage sex is unlawful sexual connection. Presumably it is. I was given to understand, however, that our system doesn't have the "statutory rape" thing, though, that underage sex is a lesser offense than rape if there was consent. Certainly, to my intuition about it, it is a much less serious crime, one committed by a substantial fraction of teenagers, hence the police having the basic rule that someone has to lay a complaint.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to BenWilson,

    So the question is whether underage sex is unlawful sexual connection. Presumably it is.

    It's not. Unlawful sexual connection requires an absence of consent (or ability to give consent). Sex with a person under 16 exists as a specific charge so that consent cannot be a defence. Otherwise a 16-year-old who had consensual (but illegal) sex with their 15-year-old significant-other is in the same legal boat as the same 16-year-old who dragged the same 15-year-old into an alley and forced the matter. It's why one has a 10-year penalty and one has a 20-year penalty.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Ah, there it is. I knew we'd had this discussion already.

    134A Defence to charge under section 134

    (1) It is a defence to a charge under section 134 if the person charged proves that,—

    (a) before the time of the act concerned, he or she had taken reasonable steps to find out whether the young person concerned was of or over the age of 16 years; and

    (b) at the time of the act concerned, he or she believed on reasonable grounds that the young person was of or over the age of 16 years; and

    (c) the young person consented.

    (2) Except to the extent provided in subsection (1),—

    (a) it is not a defence to a charge under section 134 that the young person concerned consented; and

    (b) it is not a defence to a charge under section 134 that the person charged believed that the young person concerned was of or over the age of 16 years.

    This defense means that in order for this charge to stick, there has to be some evidence that they made no efforts to establish the age of the victims. If the only evidence in the court is the guys standing up and telling their story, how they asked her how old she was and she said she was 18 and totally up for a gang-bang, then not only will her humiliation be furthered, but they will get off scot free.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Henderson,

    Every time we (especially the media) use these men's self-assigned brand name, or phrases like "slut-shaming," no matter how negative the context, we reinforce and validate the label and the practice. So let's not.

    Since Nov 2013 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think they had grounds to “suspect” an imprisonable offence had been committed, but feel free to explain how they didn’t.

    Arguable (in terms of clarity of the victim's age) evidence of under-age sex? Totally. Evidence of rape? Please do explain, in light of Ben's observation about the need for explicit failure to give consent or clearly be incapable of giving consent, how you are so sure that there would be reasonable grounds for believing that such evidence would be found.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

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