Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Andrei There is something seriously out of whack here

From the Dominion Post
Two men on bail for separate murders have been charged with beating a man so badly that he had to be put into an induced coma.
The story you will be surprised to learn provides very few names because of suppression orders.

The victims name is not suppressed however, he is 22-year-old Jason Lawrence, whose right to go about his lawful business a 4 o'clock on a sunny Friday afternoon was suppressed by four thugs, two of whom were already on bail for murder.

11 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...

A relative of one of the murder victims was appalled that the man accused of murdering his family member was accused of reoffending while on bail.

But lawyers say judges who grant bail are doing the best they can since no-one can predict the future.

Well, apart from Climate Scientists, we are not expecting people to predict the future, we are expecting them to make considered judgments that are in keeping with the seriousness of the crime and the safety of the community.

Said a relative of one of the murder victims:

"Someone's obviously made an error of judgment ... It's a very bad error of judgment. I just don't know what to say."

He thought judges were "a little bit removed from the real world and what really goes down in some communities" when they made such decisions.

Judges and lawyers appear to be very much removed from the consequences of their decisions. From Dame Sian, chief justice who thinks people shouldn't even have to go to prison, all the way down the line to the recent judge that complained he might have to give the maximum sentence under the new three strikes law for a minor offense (he didn't, he appears not to understand the law - and he was worried he might have to take the previous 60+ convictions into account. Poor judge).

The public deserve full disclosure on the criminal record of the people bailed for murder, so we can see if "common sense" would have served the community better than a "trained" judge.

KG said...

Should we have confidence in the judiciary? I think not. They're trading on past standards and reputations and the current lot are abysmal.
Take a look at this:

Boatie Jane said...

Absolutely rotten, these judges are getting evil with their bizarre decisions. They give not a toss for the victims, it's all about the bloody thugs, as usual. I wish the govt would sack them, bunch of lefties.

Melva said...

The current system favours the perpetrator because that's exactly where the case focuses - it's the state vs the person charged. The victim in our current system is usually just a witness, if that. Thus a judge can only focus on what is done or not done to the person charged with a crime.

Where a judge puts their focus will always be the perpetrator unless our system moves beyond a simple view of justice as crime and retribution. As long as the system remains focused on that, the victim will never get any real focus.

It's not a left vs right issue, it's an issue with our whole system and our whole legal view of justice. Both sides of the political divide simply perpetuate that lame view of justice with different emphases... and as much as some might not like to hear it - the 3 strikes system continues the focus on the criminal, not the victim - it's still completely about retribution for the criminal and a judges focus will still be on the criminal.

A complete rethink of the system and how we understand justice needs to take place if we truly want to give attention to the victim and their well-being, while also making sure the criminal is truly made to account for their actions.


KG said...

Which all sounds very nice, very convincing--but the fact is that dangerous thugs are free to roam the streets and do further damage because judges allow it.

Melva said...

...and that's because the judges perspective is skewed, by what's in front of them -they are only given one human being to take into account and deal with.

I'm not trying to sound nice - I think a more holistic approach to justice is actually harder on criminals.

In our current system, the judge doesn't get a full perspective of the impact on the victim and the needs of the victim. If they did and the whole picture had to be taken into account, I would imagine things would like quite different.


Melva said...

Apologies for the poor grammar and spelling in that last comment :)


KG said...

Frank, the potential for further damage to people and property in releasing a serial offender on bail has nothing whatsoever to do with the victim of the crime the person is charged with when the judge decides to grant bail.
What we're concerned with here is estimating the danger to society by allowing the accused person to walk free.
If that person has a string of priors for violent offences then it's irresponsible of the judge to grant bail.

Melva said...

KG, I entirely agree with you. There is no disagreement here.

I just personally think the conversation needs to be a whole lot bigger. I think our legal system has bigger issues and this is one symptom. The problem is we have a media that can never focus on the bigger picture because they work in sound bites. Thus the public's thinking will never be drawn to the bigger picture of how we understand justice, the place of the victim and actual tangible and real accountability for the perpetrator that goes beyond merely giving them extended time... or not, as is the case here.

Because of that, our conversation will always be drawn to discussing the right or wrong of the symptoms rather than the disease.


Melva said...

... that was supposed to be "extended time out"

That's more witty than "extended time" ;)


KG said...

Thanks Frank. It seems we view this from pretty much the same place. :)

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