I should sue my student hostel

February 26th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Bevan Hurley at HoS reports:

One of New Zealand’s most notorious sex offenders is suing the Corrections Department for $1 million over claims he was made to sleep on a thin mattress and use small towels.

Shit, I didn’t realise you could get $1 million for that. The beds and mattresses at Carrington Hall were pretty small and thin (we referred to the beds as contraceptives due to the practical challenge they posed to sharing them) so that must be worth a few hundred thousand.

In a long-running legal case, which is expected to cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, Reekie said he was deprived of adequate light, didn’t have enough toilet paper, and was called “knob rot” by guards after developing a genital infection.

Heh, someone give that guard a Tui.

Reekie was sentenced to preventive detention in 2003 with a minimum non-parole period of 25 years after being convicted on 31 charges, including abduction and rape, for offences against four female victims, aged between 11 and 69.

It’s very easy to get outraged over this, but the reality is he has no real chance of winning any damages (and even if he did, will hopefully never be released to spend it). It is tempting to say he should not even be allowed to file a lawsuit, but the trouble with that approach is you may deny other prisoners their rights. And yes while prisoners lose some rights, access to the courts is not one of them.

The best thing to do is just ignore Reekie. He is probably doing this partly to outrage people. He can not be released from prison before 2028, and probably never will be.

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22 Responses to “I should sue my student hostel”

  1. tas (590 comments) says:

    If he wins compensation, it should be given to his victims.

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  2. Mark (497 comments) says:

    What a cry babay!

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  3. MT_Tinman (2,985 comments) says:

    I very seriously hope Knob-rot’s folly is not taxpayer funded.

    I also hope that should Knob-rot beat the system and gain financial compensation that compensation is immediately taken to offset his current accommodation costs.

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  4. Manolo (13,327 comments) says:

    Even scum like this savage feels entitled to compensation. Today’s NZ, no doubt.

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  5. Elaycee (4,297 comments) says:

    Wrong tactics.

    Maybe if he suggested to a local fiction writer that he’d go 50/50 with any ‘compensation’, we could see a hastily written piece of fiction hit the shelves to coincide with ‘Knob Rot’s’ next Court appearance.

    Similarly, the Knob Rot support team would take it upon themselves to inundate all blog comments in an effort to ‘prove’ that Knob Rot was really a misunderstood fellow who has been harshly treated and that he didnt commit the original offences at all.

    Its not as if it hasn’t been tried before!

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  6. AG (1,759 comments) says:

    “It is tempting to say he should not even be allowed to file a lawsuit, but the trouble with that approach is you may deny other prisoners their rights. And yes while prisoners lose some rights, access to the courts is not one of them.”

    I’m hoping this statement means you’ll be opposing this piece of proposed legislation: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2011/0328/3.0/DLM4021109.html

    (Serious point here, not a needle … )

    [DPF: I'm leaning towards opposition. I don't think the status quo is satisfactory but the proposed solution sets up perverse incentives which could encourage maltreatment]

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  7. simonway (371 comments) says:

    I don’t think the status quo is satisfactory

    If you don’t want criminals receiving compensation for mistreatment at the hands of the state, the simple and obvious solution is not to have the state mistreat them.

    [DPF: Yes, but to have the criminal receive more in damages from minor mistreatment by the state, than the victim of their crime who may have been disabled or raped, sits badly with me and others.]

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  8. AG (1,759 comments) says:

    “Yes, but to have the criminal receive more in damages from minor mistreatment by the state, than the victim of their crime who may have been disabled or raped, sits badly with me and others.”

    But they won’t. Even Taunoa, who was unlawfully put in solitary confinement and subject to random strip searching for humiliation purposes for a period of some 2.5 year, only got $35,000. His fellow prisoners got far less (down to $2000).

    If the mistreatment is “minor”, then there’ll be fuck all by way of damages (and this only if no other remedy will suffice – such as a declaration). The only way to get “major” damages is if the state “majorly” mistreats you. Which is a bad thing, no matter who you are.

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

    Seems like a perfect case for requiring a bond for costs before it goes to court.

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  10. Scott Chris (5,870 comments) says:

    AG says:- “But they won’t. Even Taunoa, who was unlawfully put in solitary confinement and subject to random strip searching for humiliation purposes for a period of some 2.5 year, only got $35,000.”

    The legal aid cost will be in the hundreds of thousands according to the report. Whilst issues surrounding the inhumane treatment of prisoners may be important, for average citizens who cannot afford legal representation for what many would consider to be more substantial legal grievances, the apparent favouritism Nicholas Reekie receives appears to be massively unjust.

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  11. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    I don’t know where they get that “hundred’s of thousands” idea, and they don’t seem to be quoting anyone, but such a cost would surprise me. Plaintiff’s cost most likely won’t be anywhere near that, but perhaps they are trying ton include court staff and judge time in that.

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  12. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    Whilst issues surrounding the inhumane treatment of prisoners may be important, for average citizens who cannot afford legal representation for what many would consider to be more substantial legal grievances, the apparent favouritism Nicholas Reekie receives appears to be massively unjust.

    ABSOLUTLEY SO. Like the younbg lady of 21 who works for me. Went into the local hospital for a suspected peretonitis and came off the table with her fallopin tubes removed and her gall bladder. DHB registered her with ACC as a misadventure and that’s it. She and her family cannot afford the lawyer they need.
    Anyone got any suggestions for me as to how we can help her. Appalling. just sent home with a oh well we fucked up and last week rang to suggest that she not go to the media when all the misadventure stats came out.
    No assistance with a lawyer nothing and yet arseholes like the affore mentioned rapist will get millions spent on him.

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  13. AG (1,759 comments) says:

    V2,

    If your employee is unhappy with how the DHB has responded to her complaints, she can pursue it here: http://www.hdc.org.nz/complaints. Won’t get her any money, but. That’s because ACC comprehensively covers such events … so even if she could afford a lawyer, it wouldn’t help her.

    As for “arseholes like the affore mentioned rapist will get millions spent on him” … no. He won’t. He just won’t.

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  14. mikenmild (10,618 comments) says:

    AG, please don’t let facts get in the way of V2′s story.

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  15. Steve (4,491 comments) says:

    ACC covers ….
    fucking bullshit, 3 years of fighting the bastards.

    Mike, are you following me? fuck off and play the train union shit

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  16. Steve (4,491 comments) says:

    Reekie is another piece of shit that thinks the TAXPAYER owes him a living. The sympathy from the cogsuckers and iceholes is apalling

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  17. mikenmild (10,618 comments) says:

    Take a chill pill Steve. No one is offering Reekie any sympathy.

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  18. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    A 20 year old who has her chance of ever having her own children taken from her in great fuck up at the hospital. No one cares YET. Sweep it under the counter. Noone has been made accountable and noone has resigned. Just a meeting with sympathetic who are shit scared of losing their jobs. No one offered help.
    That’s caring for ya.
    AG She deserves more than having to go cap in hand and lots of agony to get this sorted in anyway. I’m sure the persons concerned feel upset but rules is rules and how will she be compensated” How will she ever know her own children?
    After nearly a year she is now getting angry and upset that noone cared enough to be bothered to front up with the money needed to get help. That IMHO should have been near the top of the list. Indeed the DHB should have taken absolute care of that no questions and no quibble.

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  19. AG (1,759 comments) says:

    V2,

    It sounds like this young woman has had a terrible thing happen to her, and if indeed the hospital has been as bad about it as you say she should definitely pursue the matter through the Health and Disability Commissioner (which I linked to above) as well as ACC (if she needs counseling as a result of her loss). But yes – there is no way in law to get monetary compensation for her loss … not, I’m sure, that this would actually make good for never being able to have a child. So it’s not the fact she can’t get a lawyer that prevents her suing – it’s that there’s no grounds to do so in NZ.

    Of course, if she were in the USA/Australia/UK, she’d be able to get a lawyer to take a case on a contingency basis (ie if she wins, the lawyer takes a big chunk of the damages – but if she loses, it costs her nothing). And she might well get a big payout. But that then creates a climate where lawyers trawl around searching for “victims” to represent – the infamous “trial lawyers” who love the Democrats so much in the USA and that the Republicans seek to “reform” away – as well as frauds like this: http://crime.about.com/od/scams/a/staged.htm. So, there’s no such thing as a free lunch – setting up a system that would allow your employee to get a lawyer and sue the hospital would have knock-on consequences that you might not like so much.

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  20. backster (2,074 comments) says:

    “It’s very easy to get outraged over this, but the reality is he has no real chance of winning any damages ”

    Never say never mate, that”s what every rational person thought before the first handout of thousands for ‘hurt feelings’ was doled out iin the first place and how many thousands have been doled out since.

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  21. RRM (9,427 comments) says:

    “Knob rot” – LOL

    Quite out of order though. SILENCE, CRIMINAL! should be the only way that inmates are addressed.

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  22. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    “The best thing to do is just ignore Reekie.”

    Or failing that theres always the option of giving free publicity to his case on a high profile blog…

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