Strike Two

March 5th, 2011 at 11:47 am by David Farrar

The Press reports:

New Zealand’s first second-strike violent offender has had his sentencing delayed because of the devastating Christchurch earthquake.

, 20, of Wainoni, was meant to have been sentenced in Christchurch District Court yesterday for aggravated robbery and a series of burglaries.

But because of the quake, pre-sentence preparations could not be completed. Yesterday, Judge Gary MacAskill – sitting in Rangiora Courthouse because the Christchurch courts are off limits – remanded him in custody to May 27.

Ripia was on bail after receiving a first-strike warning when he committed a further offence.

That led to him being read New Zealand’s first second-strike warning on January 26, and he was remanded in custody for sentence yesterday.

Mr Ripia seems a slow learner, commiting more crimes while on bail after his first strike. Fortunately we now have a law which won’t allow him to just receive minor sentences for-ever. At this second strike his senetence will be of normal length, but he won’t get parole, meaning he will serve the full term.

And if after release he gets convicted of a third strike for aggravated robbery, then he’s going to be off the streets for many many years.

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48 Responses to “Strike Two”

  1. Manolo (12,639 comments) says:

    Another peaceful native caught red-handed.

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  2. big bruv (12,380 comments) says:

    Rex?…..Toad?……where are you guys?

    Come and tell us why the three strikes legislation is a bad thing again please.

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  3. kowtow (6,723 comments) says:

    Another first for the tangata fenua to be proud of.

    Can’t wait for some professor or media commentator to claim this law is racist.

    There was no crime or prisons in Aotearoa before honkey turned up .

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  4. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    big bruv:

    I’m going to be out for much of today, but here’s my take.

    The judge could have sentenced him to the maximum term before three strikes. The judge could have refused to make him eligible for parole before three strikes. It seems, on the face of it, that this would have been a case to do so.

    But there may have been a reason not to. Admittedly I can’t see one in the case of this particular individual, but then I don’t have all the facts before me… but neither do you and neither does DPF.

    We have courts and judges because over hundreds of years, they’ve proven to be the most effective way to deal with the consequences of criminal offending. If you’re going to have “three strikes” then you might as well scrap the courts and install a sort of “sentencing ATM” whereby everyone lines up, enters the details of their crime and, regardless of the facts of the case, gets the same sentence.

    And before you say “good idea” (because I just know you want to) that’d mean that when you told the machine you were a scumbag who’d chased and stabbed to death a young man for putting a bit of unwanted spray paint on your fence, you’d go to jail for murder, and for life.

    Hey, I’m starting to like the ATM idea…

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  5. Mr Nobody NZ (396 comments) says:

    “We have courts and judges because over hundreds of years, they’ve proven to be the most effective way to deal with the consequences of criminal offending.”

    Rex and we also had the Death Penalty for hundreds of years, however despite this punishment being proven as 100% effective at preventing repeat offending society choose that they no longer wanted this form of punishment used.

    The same thing has happened with the 3 strikes law, society felt that that despite sentencing guidelines Judges were allowing their own personal to cloud their sentences and as a result criminals we’re receiving sentences that were no longer in line with society’s expectations. The 3 strike law make some attempt at correcting this despite my own feelings that it provides criminals with one chance too many.

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  6. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    Rex?…..Toad?……where are you guys?

    Come and tell us why the three strikes legislation is a bad thing again please.

    Yeah, Toad. What’s wrong with this legislation? Sure, it didn’t prevent Ripia’s second violent offence, and probably won’t prevent his third, but goddam, it’s sure gonna prevent his fourth – or at least it’ll ensure his fourth victim is a fellow inmate!

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  7. Ed Snack (1,539 comments) says:

    So, Ryan, you’re perfectly happy to have him attack, rob, and injure a fourth, fifth, sixth, etc person and receive handslaps for it ? I guess you’d better hope one of those numbers ain’t you but some other “rich prick” who really deserves it eh ? Or maybe he’s just misunderstood and had a lousy childhood ? Those robbed after all, don’t deserve any consideration because, since they had something worth thieving they probably got that through something unsocial like hard work.

    And when did any of the proponents of this law ever suggest that it would prevent all such crimes ? It may not work, but manifestly the prior mechanisms had serious defects in allowing serial offenders to thrive. Suggestions on better and workable solutions would be welcome, Rex’s pie in the sky ideas of just letting them all go after asking them to be nice not withstanding.

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  8. Manolo (12,639 comments) says:

    But his whanau will be adamant this crim is a “good kid”. I say, jail the bastard without any compassion.

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  9. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    So, Ryan, you’re perfectly happy to have him attack, rob, and injure a fourth, fifth, sixth, etc person and receive handslaps for it ?

    Why would someone be happy about that?

    Or maybe he’s just misunderstood and had a lousy childhood ?

    I’d wager quite a lot of money that he did have a shitty childhood.

    Those robbed after all, don’t deserve any consideration because, since they had something worth thieving they probably got that through something unsocial like hard work.

    Gosh, you’ve got some really weird ideas, Ed. Why on earth would victims not deserve consideration because they’d earned what was stolen? I think a good consideration for victims would be preventing them from being attacked in the first place, rather than assuring them that their assailant is having a really awful time in prison.

    And when did any of the proponents of this law ever suggest that it would prevent all such crimes ? It may not work, but manifestly the prior mechanisms had serious defects in allowing serial offenders to thrive. Suggestions on better and workable solutions would be welcome, Rex’s pie in the sky ideas of just letting them all go after asking them to be nice not withstanding.

    Given your very odd ideas, I’d probably have to ask Rex if he really wants to let violent offenders go after asking them to be nice.

    Things were broken before the three-strikes law. Things are still broken. Violent offenders should not be released until they have been deemed extremely unlikely to reoffend. That’s one strike. The potential victims of strikes two and three should be very grateful for that.

    And at the same time, the emphasis of incarceration should be on rehabilitation, rather than punishment, and at any point where a commitment to punishment clashes with a commitment to rehabilitation, systems should err in favour of rehabilitation.

    Three strikes just pushes our society further down the path of not taking responsibility for our collective failures, hiding our failures in prisons and pretending they don’t exist, and taking collective pleasure in revenge against criminals after their violent crimes, rather than working to prevent recidivism before the next violent crime.

    The whole attitude needs to change, not variations on this one failed theme.

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  10. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    Testing.

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  11. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    Goddam. My whole long comment disappeared.

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  12. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    So, Ryan, you’re perfectly happy to have him attack, rob, and injure a fourth, fifth, sixth, etc person and receive handslaps for it ?

    Why would someone be happy about that?

    I guess you’d better hope one of those numbers ain’t you but some other “rich prick” who really deserves it eh ?

    Why would I want to rely on hope for that?

    Or maybe he’s just misunderstood and had a lousy childhood ?

    I’d wager significant money that he did have a shitty childhood.

    Those robbed after all, don’t deserve any consideration because, since they had something worth thieving they probably got that through something unsocial like hard work.

    That’s a very silly thing to say, Ed. Why wouldn’t victims deserve consideration because they’d earned their money through hard work?

    And when did any of the proponents of this law ever suggest that it would prevent all such crimes ? It may not work, but manifestly the prior mechanisms had serious defects in allowing serial offenders to thrive. Suggestions on better and workable solutions would be welcome, Rex’s pie in the sky ideas of just letting them all go after asking them to be nice not withstanding.

    You seem to say some very random and unusual things, so I think I’d have to ask Rex if he actually reckons that violent offenders should be let go and just asked to be nice.

    There should be one strike. That’s the kind of consideration I’d like to see for potential victims two and three (especially if I’m one of them). After that one strike, the violent criminal should not be allowed out until he has been deemed extremely unlikely to reoffend.

    At the same time, the focus of incarceration should be entirely on rehabilitation rather than punishment. At any point where there is a clash between the interest of rehabilitation and the interests of punishment, the system should err in favour of rehabilitation.

    Things were broken. Things are still broken. The three-strikes law only pushes our society further down a path of shirking responsibility for our collective failures, preferring to lock them up and throw away the key, perhaps getting a little kick out of a sense of collective vengeance while we’re at it. Our entire attitude needs to change if we want to see fewer crimes rather than just a kind of balancing out of inflicted suffering.

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  13. calendar girl (1,108 comments) says:

    Rex @1:05pm:

    “And before you say “good idea” (because I just know you want to) that’d mean that when you told the machine you were a scumbag who’d chased and stabbed to death a young man for putting a bit of unwanted spray paint on your fence, you’d go to jail for murder, and for life.”

    It seems that, despite your view that “We have courts and judges because over hundreds of years, they’ve proven to be the most effective way to deal with the consequences of criminal offending”, you choose selectively to disagree with the court outcome in the Bruce Emery case.

    For my part I’m pleased that the Three Strikes law will force judges to take greater account of cumulative offending when handing down sentences. I don’t expect Three Strikes to eradicate crime, but I do anticipate that – in due course – some serious criminals will be off the streets for longer periods. They are on clear notice, and the choice is theirs alone.

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  14. nasska (9,549 comments) says:

    Three strikes would never have gained traction with voters if the judiciary had remained in touch with the real world. Ditto for minimum sentences. Despite public appeals & pressure put on politicians to influence judges the latter in their arrogance were sure that their opinion was the only one that counted.

    At the end of the day if judges do not use the discretion afforded them in a way that victims & the general public understand the only answer is to legislate away that discretion & that is what happened. It is a clumsy broadbrush reaction which should not have been needed.

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  15. dime (8,778 comments) says:

    this dude must be odds on to be the first 3 strike guy as well… maybe in about 2 years? ah well.

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  16. starboard (2,447 comments) says:

    I say execute the scumbag shithead now..why wait? He’s a violent oxygen thief loser and a drain on my taxes.

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  17. big bruv (12,380 comments) says:

    ” The three-strikes law only pushes our society further down a path of shirking responsibility for our collective failures, preferring to lock them up and throw away the key, perhaps getting a little kick out of a sense of collective vengeance while we’re at it. Our entire attitude needs to change if we want to see fewer crimes rather than just a kind of balancing out of inflicted suffering.”

    There you go people, the left’s approach to violent criminals.

    It is not their fault, it is our fault, we made him commit crimes, the answer (as always) is to give them more of our money and crime will stop.

    Well fuck that!, the answer is to lock up pricks like this for a very long time, Rex is right in one way when he says that this piece of shit should have been locked up years ago, however Rex knows just as well as the rest of us that our judiciary and our politicians (until recently) have favoured short sentencing.

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  18. Nookin (2,891 comments) says:

    Rex “We have courts and judges because over hundreds of years, they’ve proven to be the most effective way to deal with the consequences of criminal offending.”

    What other means have been tried?

    “The judge could have sentenced him to the maximum term before three strikes. The judge could have refused to make him eligible for parole before three strikes. It seems, on the face of it, that this would have been a case to do so.”

    No he couldn’t. He had to follow the guidelines in the Sentencing Act. Now he can do what he was aching to do previously.
    The Courts don’t devise sentencing policy. Parliament does. Previously there was a bias against imprisonment. Now the Court has a mandate from society that society has had a complete gutsful of repeat violent offending and the courts can lock the little scrotes up. Deterrence isn’t the only feature of sentencing. There needs to be a punitive element

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  19. Nookin (2,891 comments) says:

    “If you’re going to have “three strikes” then you might as well scrap the courts and install a sort of “sentencing ATM” whereby everyone lines up, enters the details of their crime and, regardless of the facts of the case, gets the same sentence”

    The court only loses its discretion on the third strike – maximum for the crime. If the offender hasn’t been “rehabilitated’ by the end of the second strike then why shouldn’t he/she get the whole 9 yards on the third strike?

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  20. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    …you might as well scrap the courts and install a sort of “sentencing ATM” whereby everyone lines up, enters the details of their crime and, regardless of the facts of the case, gets the same sentence.

    Rex, that’s a brilliant idea! I’d love to see that done.

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  21. nasska (9,549 comments) says:

    Nookin @ 5.48pm

    Agreed that parliament sets the sentencing for various crimes. The judges did & still do in most cases have enormous discretion to discount sentences depending on circumstance. If a particular judge came down hard on an offender the latter had an almost automatic right of appeal & nine times out of ten the appeal was successful.

    Personally I think it would be well worth looking at the American system where many judges are voted in, much the same as local bodies are here. There will always be a need for specialist judges in matters of pure law but on lesser criminal matters the rustles of votes in the ballot box would be sufficient to subdue unreasonable leniency.

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  22. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    There you go people, the left’s approach to violent criminals.

    It is not their fault, it is our fault, we made him commit crimes, the answer (as always) is to give them more of our money and crime will stop.

    Bruv, the fault of the individual are reflections of the fault of the society, and vice versa. To say that our society is responsible for how the actions of the people it creates is not to say that the individual is sinless. It is the failure of society that creates the man who is guilty of violent crime, and to acknowedge as much does not take away the fact of the man’s guilt.

    If you and I got together and raised a child from birth in twisted, violent ways, once it reached adulthood, it very probably and predictably would act violently towards others. Whose fault would his crimes be? His own, even though it was our actions for 18 years that made his actions practically inevitable – or at least very likely?

    We have to man up, as a society, and take responsibility for the kinds of people our society creates. No more passing the buck.

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  23. adze (1,695 comments) says:

    “We have to man up, as a society, and take responsibility for the kinds of people our society creates. No more passing the buck.”

    Do you not see an irony in this statement though Ryan?

    If we are all products of our respective environments, how do “we” take responsibility in ways the individual cannot?

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  24. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull:

    I think I’d have to ask Rex if he actually reckons that violent offenders should be let go and just asked to be nice.

    That depends Ryan.

    Did they commit a violent offence because they’re some sort of psychopath? Then no. And they should be inside for good on their first strike (or until such time as, as you say he’s “been deemed extremely unlikely to reoffend”).

    Did he resort to violence when he was drunk or high? Then it’s off to the secure rehab facility, to remain there until such time as assessed as having beaten the addiction. Then conditional release with urine testing and a suspended sentence which resets the clock (e.g. if they’re sent to rehab not jail, and choose to screw up their rehab, then they face the full jail tariff for the offence, no discount for time in rehab).

    Is he insane? Then to poor sod should never have been made a victim of PC “care in the community” nonsense, and should be returned to a secure mental health facility immediately.

    See… much as it comes as a shock to malcolm, big bruv et al, criminals are people, not some “other” like “thug” or “crim”. When we want to change people’s behaviour we generally apply a methodology tailored to that person (some people need patches, gum and a helpline to quit smoking; others throw the packet away and succeed through willpower).

    There should be one strike. That’s the kind of consideration I’d like to see for potential victims two and three (especially if I’m one of them).

    Exactly. Well not exactly but there needs to be a “broken windows” approach to the multiple property and nuisance crimes someone like this has committed across a long offending “career”. You’ve nailed why “three strikes” is a bullshit approach – 3 victims (of personal harm) and maybe hundreds of property crime before action happens. It’s just posturing by poseurs who like to appear tough.

    calendar girl:

    It seems that, despite your view that “We have courts and judges because over hundreds of years, they’ve proven to be the most effective way to deal with the consequences of criminal offending”, you choose selectively to disagree with the court outcome in the Bruce Emery case.

    Yeah, I do. I think the courts got it wrong, and Emery should not be released till he no longer has the physical capacity to attack anyone else who ticks him off. Or who’s next – you, if you pinch his parking space at the mall? Me, if I cut in front of him in the movie queue?

    But unlike, say, David Garrett, I don’t expect to have my personal opinion over-ride that of the judiciary. We can all disagree with court rulings (I see at least one a day I take issue with!) but that’s the system we have and, much like Churchill’s quote on democracy, it’s imperfect but it’s the best we have. It’s not for politicians – who aren’t jurists – to go imposing their whim over top of hundreds of years of precedent any more than it is mine.

    Nookin:

    The court only loses its discretion on the third strike

    Wrong, it loses its discretion to make the offender eligible for parole on the second strike.

    why shouldn’t he/she get the whole 9 yards on the third strike?

    Because the circumstances of your three strikes may be different to those of mine and the court exists to take account of such differences in fact. This has been discussed at length in other posts on this topic, particularly by Graeme Edgeler. I suggest you Google them.

    malcolm:

    Rex, that’s a brilliant idea! I’d love to see that done.

    So you agree, then, that Bruce Emery should have got the same sentence as Clayton Weatherstone? Good, so do I. Sadly the judges thought otherwise.

    nasska says:

    Three strikes would never have gained traction with voters if the judiciary had remained in touch with the real world. Ditto for minimum sentences.

    I agree entirely. There is huge disparity in sentencing. I have a client who committed an “armed robbery” – waved around a small bladed weapon while high, but didn’t touch a hair on anyone’s head. Sentence: 5 years. Another prisoner in the same prison took a guy hostage, bound his arms and legs with wire coathangers, then kicked and beat him over a period of 3 days, eventually leaving him to die in his own vomit, urine and faeces. The victim is so badly injured that, at 50 years of age, he’s going to live what’s left of his life in an old folks’ home. Sentence: 5 years.

    Thing is, the first, unduly harsh sentence, didn’t get reported. The second, ridiculously light one, did. So the public think “judges are soft”. They’re not, as a whole. Some are too soft, some are too hard, and your sentence is little more than a bloody lottery.

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  25. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    If we are all products of our respective environments, how do “we” take responsibility in ways the individual cannot?

    Our decisions, collectively, will shape the experiences and thus character of the child born into our society tomorrow.

    At the moment when Ripia commits his violent crime, it’s too late to influence his behaviour. And at the moment when we decide to make changes to our institutions to prevent violent criminals in the future, it’s too late for anyone to influence our behaviour. For sure, we are no less products of New Zealand society than he is.

    But for the child born tomorrow, it’s not too late for us to identify and remove environmental causes of crime (well, causes of criminals).

    So perhaps it’s not today’s criminals that we should feel responsible for the creation of, but rather tomorrow’s potential criminals, whose lives we still have some power to shape for the better. I suppose I meant “we, New Zealand society” as something stretching back generations as well as forwards.

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  26. big bruv (12,380 comments) says:

    “We have to man up, as a society, and take responsibility for the kinds of people our society creates. No more passing the buck.”

    Good idea, hand me the gun!

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  27. starboard (2,447 comments) says:

    “We have to man up, as a society, and take responsibility for the kinds of people our society creates. No more passing the buck.”

    ..the biggest crock of shit I have ever read. I dont have to man up at all. I dont have to take the responsibility at all. No wonder this countries in the position it is with people like you advocating for the scum.

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  28. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    starboard:

    ..the biggest crock of shit I have ever read.

    So you don’t agree that “no man is an island” then?

    That’s not to say a great deal – in the majority of cases, the bulk – of the blame for offending falls on the offender. I grew up poor and chose not to mug someone. Discounting crimes of passion and the effect of drugs or insanity I don’t think there can ever be an excuse for violence.

    I was at one point, however, forced to steal to eat. I got no joy from it and I remain ashamed to this day. If anyone still lives in the Khandallah street where your milk and bread occasionally went missing out your box, let me know and I’ll buy you a loaf and a bottle!

    But society – in that case a lack of jobs and mandatory stand-downs when applying for a benefit coupled with an employer who literally vanished owing me a month’s wages – was to blame for my “crime”. It could be argued that by continuing to make the possession and use (note: not sale and supply) of drugs illegal and thus creating an impediment to a junkie seeking help, society is to blame for a lot of drug-related crime. And so on.

    No criminal (aside from the insane) is entirely blameless. But to deny that the way in which society chooses to structure itself plays a part in crime is to deny the evidence of literally thousands of pieces of research. Even the success of “broken windows” was due in part to societal change instituted at the same time (cleaning up the “projects” etc).

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

    Rex And before you say “good idea” (because I just know you want to) that’d mean that when you told the machine you were a scumbag who’d chased and stabbed to death a young man for putting a bit of unwanted spray paint on your fence, you’d go to jail for murder, and for life.

    Hey, I’m starting to like the ATM idea…

    So you’re saying that Bruce Emery had two strike-able offences before he offed the tagger? Oh wait he didn’t.
    So you’re saying that Bruce Emery was sentenced for murder? Oh wait, he was sentenced for manslaughter. The difference is nothing to do with the strike law.

    I love it when the crim-cuddlers resort to simply making shit up, it’s an admission they don’t have an argument based in fact.

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  30. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    ..the biggest crock of shit I have ever read. I dont have to man up at all. I dont have to take the responsibility at all. No wonder this countries in the position it is with people like you advocating for the scum.

    Like it or not, your actions and the actions of your representatives in Parliament will shape the environment in which the next generation grows up, and that environment will very very strongly impact the character of that generation, the kinds of adults those children will become.

    That puts some responsibilities on yours and my shoulders, some moral duties.

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  31. starboard (2,447 comments) says:

    “That puts some responsibilities on yours and my shoulders,”

    ..nowhere do you ever mention self responsibility..or accountability for your own actions.

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  32. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    Put it away away:

    I love it when the crim-cuddlers resort to simply making shit up, it’s an admission they don’t have an argument based in fact.

    Like your mate Garrett, Put it away, you never come up with facts, just opinion, so it’s not so much pot – kettle as entire iron foundry – kettle.

    But just to clear up your obvious confusion… you’ve made my point for me. We have courts precisely because they can decide that Bruce Emery committed manslaughter and not murder (though god knows how they arrived at that conclusion!).

    If we do away with them then yes, people like Ripia will line up at the ATM, press the “aggravated robbery” button, and get n years. But then heroes of yours like Emery would have to line up and press the “Killed someone” button, and get what they deserved. No nice nuances if “I didn’t mean to” for Mr Emery, just as you and others here want to deny any nuance (assuming he has any) to Ripia.

    Much as I think Emery got off lightly, I accept that that’s the way the system works and I don’t expect to gerrymander a rabid politician into Parliament on a list just so he can overturn hundreds of years of judicial decision making just to make me feel better.

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  33. starboard (2,447 comments) says:

    Emery deserves a medal. Well done Bruce.

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  34. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    “That puts some responsibilities on yours and my shoulders,”

    ..nowhere do you ever mention self responsibility..or accountability for your own actions.

    From one perspective, people are entirely accountable for their own actions.

    From another perspective, whether or not a person has a sense of self-responsibility and how they act in response to it will be strongly influenced by their environment growing up – what their parents teach them (by both words and actions), what their school teaches them, how their peers act, what they learn from watching television, what options are available to them (availability of drugs, availability of sports clubs, availability of library books), even their nutrition growing up.

    Self-responsibility doesn’t mean that we are not influenced by others, that we do not influence others, or that we are relieved of the responsibilities that come with those facts. How my son acts when he is 20 will be largely dependent on how I raise him, and so I am responsible to some degree for his behaviour as an adult.

    It’s not something that should be applied in a legal sense, as it would be impractical to apply (charging everyone someone’s ever met for their crime, etc.) But in a broader sense, I believe it is something that should inform how we approach crime and punishment.

    We, as a nation, make choices that will have a strong impact on how the next generation is raised and therefore how they will act. While we are far, far more responsible for our own actions than for anyone else’s, I believe that we must also take responsibility for how our decisions affect how others act – to whatever degree that they do.

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

    “But just to clear up your obvious confusion… you’ve made my point for me. We have courts precisely because they can decide that Bruce Emery committed manslaughter and not murder (though god knows how they arrived at that conclusion!).”

    No Rex, the confusion is yours, and it’s as deliberate as it is dishonest. You are trying to conflate removing the court’s option to give a wet bus ticket sentence to a third strike offender at sentencing with removal of the court’s ability to decide whether the guilt is for murder or manslaughter. The second is an entirely imaginary scenario you made up. As well as being dishonest, your Emery comparison is also irrelveant, because the man had no strikeable offences. If he had a history of violent offending before the tagging situation, then he would be seen as a criminal not a good man who went too far. Your argument is essentially “but what if this guy Emery was a much worse offender than he was, then he would have got a much worse sentence!”

    NO SHIT SHERLOCK.

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  36. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    starboard:

    Emery deserves a medal. Well done Bruce.

    Nowhere do you mention responsibility, or accountability for your own actions.

    If you’re going to carefully select your best stabbing knife, run 365 metres in pursuit of two offenders, and then plunge a blade in the chest of one of them, you could at least man up and plead guilty. Especially if you’re a well known bully who only picks on kids:

    Grumpy, reclusive. Some who grew up in the neighbourhood said Emery would grumble, shoo them away for noisy play or for picking fruit from his loquat tree. But he’d never confront them if an adult was present.

    “The bully behind the curtains,” was one person’s summation.

    A neighbour who did not wish to be named said Emery was “a bully” who had changed life for everyone in the neighbourhood. “He’s a cold, calculated bugger. He went down there with the knife and should be done for murder,” the neighbour said. “That’s all he’s been doing for years, bullying all the kids.”

    Emery didn’t have the courage of his convictions, even when charged only with manslaughter. All he deserves is a white feather.

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  37. calendar girl (1,108 comments) says:

    Rex: “Much as I think Emery got off lightly, I accept that that’s the way the system works.”

    That’s not what you implied in your post at 1:05pm. Quite the contrary, in fact. I think you’re being a bit disingenuous.

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  38. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    Put it away:

    Are you capable of controlling yourself and not accusing others of “deliberate lying” when they have an opinion different to yours? If not, I can see why you identify so closely with Bruce Emery.

    You are trying to conflate removing the court’s option to give a wet bus ticket sentence to a third strike offender at sentencing with removal of the court’s ability to decide whether the guilt is for murder or manslaughter.

    No, I’m saying both are the function of the courts and only of the courts, not politicians pandering to a hated filled and generally ignorant talkback land constituency.

    As well as being dishonest, your Emery comparison is also irrelveant, because the man had no strikeable offences. If he had a history of violent offending before the tagging situation, then he would be seen as a criminal not a good man who went too far.

    A “good man” who went to far quite a few times in the past. Ooops the link above is broken so I’ll try again. Emery was an overweight bully (and thus incapable of standing up to adults) who took his temper out on local kids. He’d had plenty of previous incidents where he went too far… it was just that people chose not to lay formal complaints. And yes, if they had they wouldn’t have amounted to “strike” offences. But the point is, Emery was an out-of-control killer in waiting, just as Rikia is a timebomb.

    But you’ve got right to the nub of the farcical structure of the “three strikes” law – Emery’s not too bad in the eyes of that law because he killed only one person! Rikia, AFAIK, killed no one, but he’s on his way to a third strike. Not that I’d want either of them living in my street.

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  39. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    calendar girl:

    I honestly don’t see I’m being disingenuous. I think Emery is a bully and a coward who ought to have got a far longer sentence. But I’m not prepared to sacrifice judicial discretion on the basis of that and a few other sentences I think are too light. If I didn’t make that clear in my 1.05 I apologise, but that’s certainly what I meant.

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

    Rex – more nonsense. A “good man” who went to far quite a few times in the past. Ooops the link above is broken so I’ll try again. Emery was an overweight bully (and thus incapable of standing up to adults) who took his temper out on local kids. He’d had plenty of previous incidents where he went too far… it was just that people chose not to lay formal complaints. And yes, if they had they wouldn’t have amounted to “strike” offences.

    OK Rex, so which of these is a strike offence, exactly? From your link:

    Some who grew up in the neighbourhood said Emery would grumble, shoo them away for noisy play or for picking fruit from his loquat tree.

    Mr McGrath describes a road-rage incident from that time. He’d arrived home in his noisy car and was about to go out again when Emery backed his van and trailer across the road to block his exit.

    And how come you, the great defender of the courts, are so determined to find this guy guilty on hearsay that no-one bothered to take to court? You just don’t know when to stop bullshitting and digging your heels in, do you?

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  41. adze (1,695 comments) says:

    Rex, I would take all of those accounts with a grain of salt. I note you omitted the testimony from one witness who said he was “gentle” yet held a car thief in custody until the police arrived (was the thief also a youth?). The guy who “marched Emery off by the scruff of his neck” clearly is a big-noter, admitting to doing burnouts with his mates in the same street.

    It’s pretty clear that you despise Emery more than some other criminals – though apparently not entirely for reasons that contributed to his crime. He does deserve jailtime for his actions. But perhaps Emery’s biggest mistake was not moving out of that street once he knew he wouldn’t be able to control his anger or have the social skills necessary to change the behaviour of the people in his neighbourhood.

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

    Rex – “Are you capable of controlling yourself and not accusing others of “deliberate lying” when they have an opinion different to yours?”

    Rex you are an intelligent person. With that comes intellectual responsibility. Nonsense that I would dismiss in others as just sheer stupidity and ignorance ( hi phool!), has to be seen as deliberate dishonesty if it comes from you. You cannot convince me that you honestly think that being sentenced for manslaughter ( as a opposed to murder) on a first offence, has any logical connection to the strike law. The man was not on any strikes, and the question of whether it’s murder or manslaughter is not affected by the strike law anyway. Any connection you make is purely in some imaginary world of your own where the justice system is entirely different. You know that. You do not have the luxury of acting dumb.

    You also cannot convince me that you seriously believe your rhetoric that is essentially “if this guy that you sympathise with because he was an ordinary man, was instead a repeat violent criminal, under strike law he would get a tough sentence and you would be upset about that!”. Obviously if the man was a serial violent offender we would not be sympathetic to him in the first place and would think a tough sentence was appropriate. You are degrading yourself by making such a cheap attempt to convince anyone who can’t see such gaping logical difficulties.

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  43. calendar girl (1,108 comments) says:

    Fair enough, Rex, I accept your interpretation of your 1:05pm comment relating to Emery.

    But somehow I don’t detect from you any condemnation of the young graffiti exponent whose criminal property damage contributed directly to Emery’s crime. The graffiti was not a nothing incident as you imply (i.e. your silly non-crime comparisons with pinching Emery’s parking space, or cutting in front of him in the movie queue). While he didn’t deserve to suffer summary “justice”, let alone die for his misdeeds, the youth involved was a provocative, anti-social perpetrator of crime.

    I don’t profess to be an expert in all things relating to law and order, like your good self. Nevertheless I continue to exercise my freedom to disagree with you about the prospective effectiveness of the Three Strikes law – in my view it’s well worth a decent trial period in the face of mindless, recidivist, crimes of violence against the person. I also disagree with you on a couple of your specific points on the Emery case:
    a) that Emery should have received the same sentence / punishment as Clayton Weatherston; that’s an absurd contention in my opinion.
    b) that Emery should not be released till he no longer has the physical capacity to attack anyone else who ticks him off. If the law followed your latter injunction, wouldn’t that open-ended imprisonment period over-ride the learned judges’ “discretion” that you value so highly?

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  44. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    calendar girl:

    in my view it’s well worth a decent trial period in the face of mindless, recidivist, crimes of violence against the person

    It’s not so much that I’m against “three strikes”… I’m against “three strikes” in the absence of a “broken windows” approach to “minor” crimes and a tough but fair approach to the societal issues that see people like Ripia develop.

    If Ripia had had it made clear to him that a range of “nuisance” offences against property which he undoubtedly committed as a youngster were not to be tolerated by way of sentencing to, say, the Limited Service Volunteers program a properly run “boot camp” (that is to say, not like those that have been tried to date) or something smilar… and if a good hard look had been taken at his family and they had been helped to a reasonable extent and then, if they didn’t accept the help or were unable to improve their parenting, Ripia had been removed from them… then if he still offended I’d support the invocation of “three strikes”.

    What we have at present is the statutory equivalent of a parent who lets their young child run amok, causing havoc across the neighbourhood. That child learns there are no serious consequences for his actions. And then suddenly, when the child crosses some line – and because they’re a bit older – the parent reaches for the fence paling and completely over-reacts.

    that Emery should have received the same sentence / punishment as Clayton Weatherston; that’s an absurd contention in my opinion

    Mine too, so I obviously owe you another apology for not making my sarcastic / ironic tone apparent enough. I was saying that’s what will happen if we remove all judicial discretion, which is what three strikes is moving us towards. I agree it’s absurd. But if it’s good enough for the courts to decide what to do with Emery then why are they forced to obey what Garrett thinks is right in the case of Ripia?

    that Emery should not be released till he no longer has the physical capacity to attack anyone else who ticks him off. If the law followed your latter injunction, wouldn’t that open-ended imprisonment period over-ride the learned judges’ “discretion” that you value so highly

    Yes it would, which again is my point. My abhorrence for Emery, and my opinion as to his fate, should no more be imposed upon the judiciary than should Garrett’s opinion of Ripia and people like him. Each should get what the court decides is right, because that’s what the court is there to do, with all the facts before it. It’s not for me, or Garrett, or anyone else to interfere in the court’s exercise of its powers, much as we might like to.

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  45. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    adze:

    It’s pretty clear that you despise Emery more than some other criminals – though apparently not entirely for reasons that contributed to his crime… Emery’s biggest mistake was not moving out of that street once he knew he wouldn’t be able to control his anger or have the social skills necessary to change the behaviour of the people in his neighbourhood.

    That’s exactly why I have no sympathy for him, adze. It was obviously a neighbourhood which he found aggravating to live in. He’s an intelligent, white, middle aged man with money. He had choices – choices which many who commit crimes don’t have. He could have avoided the confrontation that led to Cameron’s death, but he chose instead to play some sort of Clint Eastwood (in “Gran Turismo”, though possibly he was thinking “Dirty Harry”) role – and not just on the occasion he stabbed Pihema Cameron.

    Then when called to account for his actions this bastion of decency tried to avoid facing up to the penalty – yet expected others to do so. A coward and a hypocrite… though not, I admit, the only one to appear before the courts.

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  46. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    Put it away:

    I can see I’m talking past you, and that’s my fault because I’m clearly not putting the argument clearly enough. I’ll see if I can get it right this time.

    “Three strikes” removes judicial discretion. I believe that is a bad thing. The reductio ad absurdum of the removal of judicial discretion is the “ATM” scenario I painted earlier, where your background, your motives, the severity of your crime relative to others of the same ilk mattered not. It would see Bruce Emery (who, with no prior offending, took a life) sentenced to the same term as Clayton Weatherston (who, with no prior offending, took a life). Of course it would be wrong and unfair to Emery (leaving aside for the moment that I think Emery got off too lightly, clearly Weatherston is an ongoing danger to the community, while Emery is (I hope) not).

    The link Emery’s sentence has to the strike law is that many people (see above) see his actions as justified. Clearly the court agreed to some extent. The fact that I didn’t like the outcome of Emery’s case (as did many other people) is no reason to change the law under which Emery was charged. Just as the fact that Garrett and others didn’t like the sentences being handed out to the likes of Rikia justified his stepping in and over-riding judicial discretion.

    Or to put it another way: there is never any justification for Parliament – especially a Parliament loaded with unelected and unaccountable List MPs like Garrett – to over-ride the judiciary. It’s an argument about separation of powers, not about Emery vs Weatherston, and I’ve probably hopelessly confused the issue by trying to bend real word examples into a shape that illustrates the argument.

    I may have presented the argument poorly, but I am certainly not lying and resent the accusation that I would do so. I write under my own name, I’m not about to sell my integrity, and what reputation I have left, so cheaply.

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  47. David Garrett (5,150 comments) says:

    This thread may have “gone cold” by now, but a couple of comments by Rex demand a response.

    Firstly the claim that judicial discretion is removed at strike two. Wrong. The Judge now actually has MORE discretion than before, because he or she knows that whatever sentence is imposed – lenient, harsh or somewhere in between – will actually be served and not shortened by a Parole Board. If the sentencing Judge wishes to give this Ripia clown a lightish sentence because he knows he will serve it all, he can do that. At strike two the Judge decides exactly when the offender is released, and I would have thought you would welcome that.

    Secondly Rex, “Garrett” didn’t decide the Judiciary needed to impose mandatory sentences for a third serious violent offence, parliament did. I suppose I should be flattered that you seem to think that I somehow single handedly passsed a law which curtailed judicial discretion somewhat.

    The Nats originally only agreed to support the Bill at first reading; you will recall that all the lefty commentators were smugly predicting it would go no further. The reason the Nats continued their support of the Bill was evidence based – evidence of clearly inadequate sentences for repeat violent offenders, and from overseas experience.

    Lastly I will say again – as I have many times before – 3S was NEVER seen as a magic cure all. And I quite agree with you that a zero tolerance policing variant is also necessary. If I had remained in parliament, some variant of zero tolerance would have been almost certainly ACT’s major law and order policy plank at this year’s election.

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  48. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    David Garrett:

    Gald to see you’re still here debating the applicationo this law. It would have been easy tto take a step back now you’re not in Parliament, so kudos for publicly deending what is indubitably your law (I’ll come to that in a moment).

    Firstly the claim that judicial discretion is removed at strike two. Wrong.

    Judges routinely leave it to the Parole Board to decide whether an offender has reformed whilst in jail, on the basis that a judge cannot know the future. A sentence therefore effectively says “If you see the error of your ways you should be locked up for x years [sentnece with parole], but if you do not, then you deserve to serve x + n years [sentence without parole]“.

    You’ve removed that discretion. And even if I accept your argument at face value, you’ve usurped, then, not the role of the judiciary but the role of the Parole Board who also take into account differing individual circumstances. “One size fits all” law is rarely good law.

    Secondly Rex, “Garrett” didn’t decide the Judiciary needed to impose mandatory sentences for a third serious violent offence, parliament did. I suppose I should be flattered

    First, I should clarify no disrespect is meant by the lack of an honorific. It’s common journalistic practice and thus the way I was taught to write.

    Second, we all know how politics works. Act had a list of demands it wanted in order to form a coalition. National negotiated that list, giving away some, refusing others and compromising on others. Not that I’m implying anything wrong or sinister – that’s what MMP has delivered us. Just as Winston was granted his baubles, Act was granted “3 strikes”. And as “the liberal party” with a focus primarily on economic issues I don’t imagine that a 3 stikes was high on every MPs’ agenda. Act adopted it (and ranked you fifth on the list) in return for SST support. Just who supports the SST has never been made clear… all we have are assertions that it’s “the little people”.

    But that aside, the driver for the law is clear: from the SST, through you, through the medium of Act. So it’s very much your law. Or at least yours and Garth McVicar’s, because there’s no way anyone believes that Act would have bothered with it unless you were there promoting it not because they necessarily find it odious (though some ordinary members made it plain at the time that they did) but simply because small parties stick to core business to strengthen their brand.

    3S was NEVER seen as a magic cure all. And I quite agree with you that a zero tolerance policing variant is also necessary. If I had remained in parliament, some variant of zero tolerance would have been almost certainly ACT’s major law and order policy plank at this year’s election

    Ive said before… you had National offering to go along with one law and order plank as part of the price of coalition and you chose the wrong one, starting at the wrong end. As I said above, if the “graduates” of broken windows haven’t learned, then they deserve 3 strikes. But Ripia and his ilk have been allowed to run wild up to the point they start amassing strikes. Aside from the fact that it’s unfair on them (you don’t train a dog by letting it run wild and then beating it when it kills your livestock), much more importantly it is far less effective at preventing the creation of more victims than is “broken windows”. Nothing in politics is certain, as I can attest. When you’re given a chance you need to have your priorities clearly sorted… and it seems to me your priority was an image as a tough guy rather than a policy that could have worked.

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