Did Corrections allow media to visit Weatherston

July 28th, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I wasn’t planning to comment more on this case until sentencing but Roar Prawn blogs:

Yip it true. We have just been watching the Weatherston piece on TV3 60 Minutes. It was okay till they got to the bit where the reporter revealed she had been given permission to visit Weatherston in Jail. …

Weatherston should not have had that opportunity. has done the country a disservice for allowing the interview to go ahead.

If Roar Prawn is correct and Corrections allowed TV3 to have access to Weatherston (even if it was not filmed), then the Minister still has some culture change challenges ahead.

UPDATE: I have heard from a reliable source that it appears the TV3 reporter posed as a friend of Weatherston’s when she visited in March and April. This is a breach of Corrections Department rules if she did, as media are meant to identify themselves. I hope TV3 comment on whether or not they broke the rules to gain access?

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29 Responses to “Did Corrections allow media to visit Weatherston”

  1. dime (10,222 comments) says:

    the media make me sick. if i was running the news, i would never mention this guys name, never show his picture. he loves it.

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  2. tvb (4,560 comments) says:

    Weatherstone will have his opportunity to say all he likes at his sentencing. He will have the full attention of the media, He will be heard in silence and without interruption. Sophie Elliot had no opportunity to say anything, she was simply butchered to death and meanwhile in a monstrous “perversion” of justice Weatherstone was allowed to put his spin on events without challenge.

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  3. NOt1tocommentoften (433 comments) says:

    DPF – can you explain why you are agains the media having access to him in this case? You generally explain your opinions but haven’t here.

    [DPF: Prisoners are in prison and media access is a rare privilege. It can be justified when near end of a sentence but when the victim’s family are trying to move on, reporters should not be granted interviews with the killer]

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  4. RightNow (7,015 comments) says:

    I think I know the answer to that, he doesn’t deserve air let alone airtime.

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  5. Alan Wilkinson (1,938 comments) says:

    Was it before or after conviction? If before, I see no issue.

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  6. JustRight (31 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson – are you the same Alan who was a newsgroupie at Telecom years ago (1998-2002?)

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  7. MyNameIsJack (2,414 comments) says:

    can anyone say “beat up'”

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  8. Falafulu Fisi (2,141 comments) says:

    I usually watch 60 minutes, but last night I watched something else. How could anyone want to watch a reality TV (60 minutes) with this fucking murderer as the star ? TV3 is pathetic.

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  9. anonymouse (705 comments) says:

    Hang on,

    Prisoners are allowed to have visitors, but *ALL* visitors to a prison require permission from corrections, friends, family etc, so to be honest I am not sure that it is an issue for a reporter to be allowed to visit a prisoner as a regular visitor on the request of the inmate.

    http://www.corrections.govt.nz/community-assistance/information-for-family-and-friends-of-offenders/prison_visitors_-_a_guide_for_prisoners_and_their_personal_visitors.html

    Corrections Media policy is here

    http://www.corrections.govt.nz/policy-and-legislation/policy-and-procedures-manual/section-e/e13/e1301.html

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  10. CraigM (541 comments) says:

    Personally I just voted with my remote and didn’t watch 60 Minutes.
    I won’t be watching anything that gives oxygen to this individual or his family.

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  11. Ruby (105 comments) says:

    Truth be told I’m sick of the media attention over this case.

    See today’s news: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/2681391/Road-rage-killing-accused-pleads-guilty – an elderly man was killed in a road rage incident, yet the killer only got manslaughter.

    How is this any different from the Elliot-Weatherston case? How come people aren’t equally outraged about why this killer only got manslaughter instead of murder? How come blog posts were not made every day updating how the case progressed?

    Is it because it’s more OK to murder someone over road-rage instead of jealousy?
    Is it because so long as you kill them by stabbing them less (but nonetheless ending their life anyway) it’s more OK than stabbing them more?
    Is it because it’s more OK if the victim is an elderly person (or as in that banjo case, homosexual) rather than a young, promising white girl?

    Seriously. People are getting away with manslaughter everyday and it’s equally as bad as Weatherston getting away with it – they all deserve condemnation and I don’t see why particular attention is being paid to the Weatherston case over all the other cases.

    [DPF: If you have to ask about what is different, then you will never ever ever get it I suggest. Two clues – brutality and remorse]

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  12. Cerium (23,833 comments) says:

    I rarely watch 60 Minutes but chose to watch this item last night. It was mostly about his parents. The prison visit was a minor part of the item.

    I’ve got to say I really felt for the parents. Crap can happen in any family out of the blue. For your child to do something totally unexpected and despicable like that must be very hard to deal with. But as they both said, not as bad as for Sophie’s parents.

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  13. backster (2,196 comments) says:

    It seems the prison interview could only take place with the permission of the Chief Executive…If so yet another lamentable lack of judgement by him.

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  14. racer1 (352 comments) says:

    Opps there goes my post.

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  15. Ruby (105 comments) says:

    [DPF: If you have to ask about what is different, then you will never ever ever get it I suggest. Two clues – brutality and remorse]

    So as long as you end someone’s life with less brutality and more remorse, you deserve manslaughter instead of murder.

    Like the guy who killed the elderly man over road rage, because he killed that person in a less brutal way, and admitted guilt, he gets manslaughter.

    Notwithstanding the fact that he died anyway and his family would suffer from the loss all the same.

    So if Weatherston killed Sophie say with one stab and felt bad about it, you would be OK with him getting manslaughter instead, just as in the above case of road rage.

    Notwithstanding the fact that she died anyway and her family would suffer from the loss all the same.

    [DPF: Please do not invent beliefs for me or you will be gone. I am pointing out why this case has attracted so much attention. That is a different issue to murder vs manslaughter]

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  16. Ruby (105 comments) says:

    Or say the gay banjo case, where because stuffing a banjo down someone’s throat was ‘less brutal’ as stabbing someone over 200 times, therefore it’s OK so he only got manslaughter.

    What I’m saying is, they all deserve murder for ending someone’s life when the innocent victim didn’t deserve it, let’s either give all of them equal coverage or equal moving on.

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  17. andrei (2,653 comments) says:

    So a TV3 reporter visited Clayton Weatherston in prison – what’s the issue?

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  18. racer1 (352 comments) says:

    Why can this not be left too the free market. If people really don’t want to see Weatherston, then they won’t watch, tv3 will suffer in the pocket. No need for censorship.

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  19. enough rope (89 comments) says:

    It’s not an issue of censorship, it’s about granting an undeserved privilege to a criminal. As is now well known, Weatherston used his trial to attempt to destroy what remained of his victim’s legacy. While he’s entitled to visits from family and whatever friends he may have, the media supply him with the oxygen of publicity to further his twisted ends.

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  20. Cerium (23,833 comments) says:

    On what basis was the visit? Did they identify as media? Or purport to be a “friend”.

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  21. Alan Wilkinson (1,938 comments) says:

    JustRight: No.

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  22. RaggedJoe (1 comment) says:

    It’s pretty clear that taking a kitchen knife to somone’s home and stabbing them multiple times is muder and the jury so found.
    Instant of road rage, strong assailant vs old man, still kinda sounds like murder, but with no premeditation, and remorse, it appears manslaughter is appropriate.
    Stuffing a banjo down a throat seems to push the boundries, and shpould have been murder. Provocation defence is rightly under review. All a bit academic as my understanding is that the same sentance can now be applied for both crimes, so it comes down to sentancing at the end?

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  23. David Farrar (1,437 comments) says:

    It appears Corrections did not approve a media visit. TV3 reporter posed as a friend.

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  24. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    Again it’s the fact that it’s this particular individual that’s at the centre of the story which seems to be causing most people – and rightly so, in his case – to abhor the fact that he appears to have been given yet another opportunity to peddle his character assassination of his victim.

    But stepping back from it being him for a moment, and looking at it as a general rule, what do people see wrong with a prisoner talking to a journalist?

    It can in fact be a positive move. It was, for instance, other prisoners speaking out that revealed earlier this year that two lesbian killers, who’d bludgeoned a young girl to death in a manner at least as horrific as Weatherston’s killing, were associating freely within the walls of WA’s only womens prison – to the extent of having sex with one another, kissing and holding hands while guards looked on etc.

    And this was after a judge had specifically ordered that they be kept apart and the Minister of Corrections had asssured the media that htis was possible within the jail while knowing full well that it wasn’t.

    Outraged prisoners broke that story. Just as they’ve broken stories in other places about brutality within prisons; about guards smuggling drugs; about gangs within prisons and any number of other things which the public have every right to know.

    TV3 ought to have known better than to give this narcissist air time. But that speaks entirely to their lack of judgment and their willingness to stoop so low for ratings, not to the need to ban all prisoners from media contact. By doing so, Corrections allow their own failings to be covered up – it has nothing to do with respect for victims.

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  25. Chuck Bird (4,913 comments) says:

    It would appear TV3 will do anything for ratings. While many people feel sorry for Weatherston’s parents I am not so sure after reading the interview in the Herald on Sunday. I would bet that the Weatherston’s insisted on vetting the questions first and TV3 agreed to get an exclusive. I got the impression from Mr Weatherston’s first appearance after the verdict that he approved of the defence tactic of attacking Sophie’s character. The Herald article confirmed that. TV3 should have asked about the defence tactic and Clayton’s almost total lack of remorse.

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  26. Ruby (105 comments) says:

    [DPF: Please do not invent beliefs for me or you will be gone.]

    Uhh, is that a death threat?

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  27. Lawrence Hakiwai (117 comments) says:

    Just listened back to the piece on the TV3 site and the reporter specifically says she got permission to speak with Weatherston. But to report on that meeting in the 60 Minutes piece she would have had to have sought and received permission from Corrections – and that didn’t happen.

    We wait to hear TV3’s reaction.

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