Strike One

June 30th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

An Upper Hutt man has been served with New Zealand’s first warning under the controversial “” law after being convicted of groping a woman.

Dwyane Christopher Mercer, 32, was convicted in Upper Hutt District Court last week after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting his friend’s partner. Indecent assault is one of 40 serious violent offences that attract “strikes” upon conviction. The law came into force on June 1. …

Mercer, a landscape gardener, assaulted his victim after being offered a bed for the night after drinking, the court was told.

His partner of seven years, Vanisha Mercer, 25, supported him in court and was unhappy with the “strike”. His three-year-old daughter and son, 6, were missing their father, who was in prison for the first time, she said. “I think it’s unfair … He was just drunk.”

The new law was a good idea “for really bad people … But he’s not a bad person,” she said.

Actually if Mercer is not a bad person, then the law will work on him. He will not want to get a second strike, knowing it will mean no parole. Some criminals will not be deterred from reoffending, but it sounds like Mercer can be.

“I reckon that if he had known the law had changed he wouldn’t have [pleaded] guilty, because then he would have got his bail.”

The three strikes law doesn’t affect bail.

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23 Responses to “Strike One”

  1. Graeme Edgeler (3,216 comments) says:

    The three strikes law doesn’t affect bail.

    I disagree.

    While it shouldn’t affect bail at the first strike, with the presumption of prison without parole at the second strike, bail awaiting sentence on a second or third strike will be much harder to get. Similarly, on a second or third strike, the likely sentence is a factor when considering bail pre-trial (e.g. if the person, even if convicted, is unlikely to get a prison term, this is a factor weighing in favour of a grant of bail). If prison is more likely (or mandatory) bail will be less likely.

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  2. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “The new law was a good idea “for really bad people … But he’s not a bad person,” she said.”

    Just maybe, he isn’t “bad”, but he is as sure as hell married to an idiot.

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  3. Muzza M (286 comments) says:

    Red you beat me to it, and these people breed.

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  4. Colonel Masters (420 comments) says:

    How could he not know the law had changed?

    P.S. He looks older than 32, more like 42.

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  5. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    Hmm, the jury is still out on this law for me. People who commit serious crime do it because they have no respect for others, authority or themselves. They do not rationally weigh the consequences, and I predict that this law will be repealed before anyone has a third strike. At that time serious crime will have continued to increase.

    Respect begins in the home, and while we have a welfare system that incentivizes family dysfunction under the guise of ‘support’ today, we buy ourselves societal dysfunction and full prisons tomorrow.

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  6. burt (7,083 comments) says:

    All he had to do in court was pin his labour party members card to his jacket and say the law was confusing, other men were also groping friends partners when drunk and they have not been punished.

    What a mug, the law is confusing and others were doing it too is a valid defense when you are in Labour, how could he not know that….

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  7. Colonel Masters (420 comments) says:

    People who commit serious crime do it because they have no respect for others, authority or themselves.

    Sounds like just the sort of people who should be going away for longer then.

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  8. pidge (49 comments) says:

    The man in question apparently has committed previous offences whilst drunk.. From the article

    “Mercer was also facing sentence for assaulting his mother while he was drunk, she said. His offending over the past 16 years was all alcohol-related.”

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  9. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    Sounds like just the sort of people who should be going away for longer then.

    @Colonel – Perhaps. Rather than a three-strikes conviction system, I advocate a two tier prison system. One focused on ‘tough love’ style rehabilitation. Plenty of education opportunities, resources and support.. with the intention being to ‘convert’ the offender from being a public menace to a constructive member of society. Different styles of facility could be implemented – Maori focus, Christian focus, secular/trade/education focus etc. Participants in this system should be left with no doubts that they are living in the Hilton by comparison with the second system.

    The second system would be designed to keep the public safe from serious, serial offenders who have abused their societal privileges. The second system would take the very worst of first-time offenders, plus those who have experienced the first system and once again restored to illegal behaviours. This system would demand labour of inmates to earn their keep. This should be ‘hard time’ and the conditions should be subsistence only.

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  10. burt (7,083 comments) says:

    pidge

    His offending over the past 16 years was all alcohol-related

    Talking to a person who had dealings with Graham Burton in prison I heard this similar quote; “He’s a really nice guy when he’s not off his head on P”.

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  11. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    “I reckon that if he had known the law had changed he wouldn’t have [pleaded] guilty, because then he would have got his bail.”

    So if it wasn’t for this law he would have lied and pleaded not guilty ? Sweet, it’s working already !

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  12. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    One Strike.. Two Strikes.. Three Strikes… and your out… Then What.. and who pays.

    Theres no winners in this game only loooses.

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  13. Inventory2 (9,786 comments) says:

    I blogged on this earlier today (link is on the GD thread). Strike One is a bit like a shot across the bows. Dwayne Mercer should be under no illusions now that any repeat of his violent or abusive behaviour when drunk will have serious consequences. If that warning shot is not enough to wake him up, prompt him to sort out his drinking, and stop this kind of offending, then he deserves every day that he has to spend in prison.

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  14. gravedodger (1,426 comments) says:

    Am I right in accepting this was a bedroom invasion not a “grope” in front of others. If he invaded her private space then he needs to
    1 address his drinking.
    2 learn or relearn acceptable behavior.
    3 have someone who can, convince him of his clear and present danger.
    4 just accept longer holidays

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  15. Rex Widerstrom (5,124 comments) says:

    Krazykiwi opines:

    People who commit serious crime do it because they have no respect for others, authority or themselves. They do not rationally weigh the consequences…

    Exactly. It’s entirely possible this clown will get a second or even third strike because he clearly can’t hold his alcohol (he has a record of offending while drunk); and thinks with the wrong head.

    What needs to happen now is for him to be sentenced to a mandatory alcohol problem (or what about a suspended sentence contingent upon him staying off the booze for a year or two? He might even lose the taste for it). Plus some restorative justice, such as having to face women who’ve been groped and even raped and be told what it’s like to be the victim of what he probably sees as “harmless” behaviour?

    Might not work, but more likely to work than whatever he’ll end up getting.

    Respect begins in the home, and while we have a welfare system that incentivizes family dysfunction under the guise of ‘support’ today, we buy ourselves societal dysfunction and full prisons tomorrow.

    Damn right. “3 strikes” is the gorilla cage at the bottom of the cliff. What we ought to be addressing is why so many of our fellow citizens are incapable of acting like anything other than lower primates. Then fewer of us will fall victim to their behaviour.

    Incientally KK, just a heads up that I’ve answered your question re TVs, gyms and internet in prisons on the other thread.

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  16. BlairM (2,265 comments) says:

    Ummm… well that’s his first strike. no problem

    If he does it two more times, he’s fucked. So maybe he will think twice.

    The law is working.

    Fuck off commies.

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  17. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Fuck off commies.

    What do you reckon about Rex’s alcohol treatment idea above?

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  18. Rex Widerstrom (5,124 comments) says:

    …which should read “a mandatory alcohol program” not “problem”. And no, I haven’t been drinking :-P

    But someone whose answer to a complex mullti-layered question on how to change human behaviour is “Fuck off commies” is unlikely to have a response that’s of much interest, I suspect.

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  19. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    @Rex 1:50. Thanks for the answered prison question

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  20. BlairM (2,265 comments) says:

    It wasn’t directed at you Rex. I just love telling commies to fuck off. Consider it my duty even.

    :-D

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  21. J Mex (178 comments) says:

    He should have run with the defense that it wasn’t him… It was his ‘mate’ – “Hit on other peoples missus’ Steve”…

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  22. Dusky (51 comments) says:

    # RKBee (916) Says:
    “June 30th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    One Strike.. Two Strikes.. Three Strikes… and your out… Then What.. and who pays.

    Theres no winners in this game only loooses.”

    The thing is, RKBee, prison isn’t there just to punish the offenders. It’s there to keep them away from the society they seem intent on hurting. Yes, it takes tax to pay for it, but the money isn’t going there for no reason.

    Would you prefer a three-strikes death penalty?

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  23. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    unlikely to have a response that’s of much interest, I suspect.

    Sometimes I do a kind of reverse-trolling. Isn’t quite as successful as ‘original trolling’ though :-)

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