The Editor on the Beast of Blenheim

April 18th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

This is fairly unusual. An opinion column from an editor, which is not an editorial. That is because it is a personal reflection on the Beast of Blenheim by Dominion Post editor , who covered his trial as a junior reporter.

Bernadette writes:

Parole Board members say Wilson is “likely to commit a specified sexual offence” and remains “threatening and intimidating”. Now his imminent release has become a test case, with Justice Minister Judith Collins trying to rush through new legislation to keep the Beast of Blenheim in prison indefinitely.

I back this legislation. Stewart Murray Wilson must never be released.

Why. We read on:

In 1995, I was a Dominion reporter assigned to cover Wilson’s case. Over a year I attended court hearings, spent time with his many victims, visited Wilson in prison twice and got to know his in-laws. …

During his depositions hearing, Wilson tried to pass me notes. I felt so uncomfortable that I moved seats.

The three-week hearings in Blenheim were gruelling. The court heard testimony after testimony, some from victims behind screens barely audible, they were so beaten, ashamed and destroyed. Others were so angry.

I have covered many horrific stories in my almost 30-year career as a journalist here and in Britain, but none that has affected me as much. It sounds silly but I couldn’t touch whitebait for a few years because it constantly reminded me of Wilson, a whitebaiter.

In pre-social media and internet days, my colleagues back at the office were often speechless as I recounted down the phone the details of each day’s court hearing. 

And these are people used to reporting on crime.

I have seen up close the damage this sick man has done to his own family and the many victims who were scattered across the country and wider; he picked up two young Danish hitchhikers and raped them. Both had to be flown back to New Zealand for the trial.

The women I interviewed were broken. Some had had mental breakdowns, one had become a drug addict, one was a bag of bones.

Wilson has shown no remorse, no appetite to seek proper help while in prison and still, authorities believe, is a danger.

My brush with Wilson was brief. I’m no expert on the mind of a monster. But every time Wilson comes up for parole anger stirs inside me. There will be those who argue that he has served his time and should be released.

The Government is looking at how to keep him behind bars. Ms Collins has got it right. Wilson’s crimes were so abhorrent that we should support the move.

The proposed are a necessary evil. I’d rather we didn’t need them, but we do. Allowing Wilson out with the near certainty he will rape or abuse is just not an option.

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185 Responses to “The Editor on the Beast of Blenheim”

  1. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    I disagree. The stakes being high is not a justification for the government to ignore due process and arbitrarily imprison someone who has served his time according to law.

    While this article provides an interesting personal insight it offers no substantive justification for what Collins has proposed. That there are evil people in the world is no reason to remove the chains from government, a force that can do much worse than any single offender.

    Ms. Collin’s proposal is an affront to the rule of law and the thin of the wedge for our inevitable police state that seeks to alleviate the fears of a society ruled by media hysteria.

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  2. virtualmark (1,306 comments) says:

    So Weihana, would you be happy for Stewart Wilson to be released and to come live next door to you? Or to live next door to your daughter? Or your mother? (etc)

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  3. mikenmild (12,446 comments) says:

    Weihana is arguing from principles. If Wilson is subject to a civil detention order (silly name BTW, why isn’t it called what it is – summary imprisonment without trial?), who will be next and on what grounds? Sure, we could apply this to the handful of worst offenders. But there will always be a smaller group beyond them, and so on.

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  4. AG (1,834 comments) says:

    virtualmark,

    Would you be happy for a rubbish dump to be created next to your house? Or your daughter’s? Or your mothers? Oh well – guess we can’t have any rubbish dumps, then.

    dpf: “Allowing Wilson out with the near certainty he will rape or abuse is just not an option.”

    So – we’re going to need not only Public Protection Orders, but legislation that creates such Public Protection Orders pushed through Parliament (over the top of an inevitable s7 BORA notice) within the next 4 months (so as to allow enough time to actually seek an order from the court before Wilson’s release)? Isn’t that kind of … an abuse of urgency?

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  5. AG (1,834 comments) says:

    mikenmild: “If Wilson is subject to a civil detention order (silly name BTW, why isn’t it called what it is – summary imprisonment without trial?)”

    To be fair, there will be a “trial” of sorts … the orders will only be able to be given by the High Court, based on the evidence of risk that a person poses.

    Note, however, that the claim this evidence demonstrates “the near certainty he will rape or abuse” (as DPF claims) vastly overeggs things. What it will show is that, based on Wilson’s characteristics and those of other released offenders in the past, there is a heightened risk of his reoffending (compared with other released offenders in the past).

    So, from the 2011 decision not to grant Wilson parole:
    “As to Mr Wilson’s potential to reoffend, (Withheld) notes in her report that on the automated sexual recidivism scale (ASRS), Mr Wilson is assessed as being in the high risk category and records that offenders in this category re-offend sexually at a rate which is approximately four times that of the average rate. ”

    And the Board’s decision was based on an assessment that: “In the Board’s view, the risk of Mr Wilson committing a specified offence before his applicable release date, remains a real and substantial one and that, by an appreciable margin, it is greater than the risk of recidivism which ordinarily arises in relation to such offending.”

    No-one on the Board/in evidence to the Board has ever said there is a “near certainty” of his reoffending, because no-one is able to make that sort of prediction based on the way threat assessments are made.

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  6. Vinick (218 comments) says:

    “Would you be happy for a rubbish dump to be created next to your house? Or your daughter’s? Or your mothers? Oh well – guess we can’t have any rubbish dumps, then.”

    Comparing a rubbish dump moving in next to someone’s daughter, and their daughter being raped?

    Wow.

    Stay classy, AG.

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  7. slade52 (13 comments) says:

    AG’s rubbish dump example shows how overdue this law change is.
    We already have land use laws to prevent the rubbish dump scenario.
    On the other hand, we are unprotected against recidivist rapists.

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  8. GPT1 (2,022 comments) says:

    But is it necessary? Wilson slipped through because Preventative Detention was not available. If we are going to dick around with fundamentals such as people’s freedom then be upfront about it. Prepare and pass the Stewart Murray Wilson detention law. Have the AG report that it is in breach of the NZBORA and have parliament acknowledge that as the supreme law making body they are going to take away this one person’s liberty because he is a dirty sicko with a propensity to reoffend.

    And hope that next time such a law is promoted it’s not 10 people, or 100 or the EB for campaigning against the Greens.

    Or perhaps just use the Extended Supervision Orders and lock him up when he breaches.

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  9. nasska (12,111 comments) says:

    AG

    Introducing retrospective legislation of any description worries me on many levels. What is a reasonable response to today’s problem could easily haunt us in the future.

    If, however, Judith Collins doesn’t take some action to reduce the risk Wilson poses to vulnerable women & children she will be hung out to dry. What do you consider the Government should do in this instance?

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  10. flipper (4,332 comments) says:

    DPF… et al….
    Think about this.

    This piece of excrement (Wilson) has completed his sentence, according to law. Since he will be out on parole, he will be closely supervised. Like it, or lump it, it is the law!

    Now we have various opinions, iuncluding that of a cub “reporter” who now chooses to use her over-inflated position to argue that Wilson will immediately re-offend and should not be released. I am sure Courteney has appropriate qualifications to use her Editorial position to make such an assertion. But I cannot see them listed anywhere, and I know her work experience does not qualify her to use her position to soap box her views.

    PShrinks are no better. They are making guesses that could be correct. They could also be 100 % in error.

    Your support of the civil detention order proposals is in principle laudable. But let us see the detail, including regular review and revcocation provisions.

    DPF…

    It is all to easy to follow the pack on this issue. Yes, re-offending is a problerm in some cases. But please, the slippery slope to Hitler’s concentration camps is dangerous. I am not suggesting this is intended, nor likely. ( Who knows, the Greens may gain power….!) But it would not be too far away and we should all be telling Collins to slow down. Power, on reflection was a disaster. We do not need a second round of knee jerk legislation….

    All that said, please do not portray me as supporting “the Beast”. He is a germ and should be treated accordingly. But it is not possible to implement any such action retrospectively
    .

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  11. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    virtualmark,

    No I wouldn’t. But if that is the price of living in a society governed by the rule of law and an executive branch that does not arbitrarily imprison people without trial then I would accept it as necessary.

    Your problem is that, while you fear your neighbours, you don’t fear your government. You’re a prime example of how a desire for absolute safety has people all too willing to sell their civil rights for the illusion of security.

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

    Weihana, I completely disagree. Violent abusive people must not be released until it is safe to do so. My long-time view is that the Government should tender out their management to private providers who must undertake financial responsibility for any and all crimes they commit. If no private provider is prepared to take on that contract they stay in jail. Likewise if they refuse to cooperate with their manager.

    Once these people have proven themselves a serious, ongoing risk to others they forfeit their right to freedom.

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

    “But it is not possible to implement any such action retrospectively ”

    In your opinion. Parliament is supreme. If Labour cares about potential victims they will support the propsoed legislation.

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  14. kapiti (11 comments) says:

    look…the Govt of the day is damed if they do, damned if they dont. 1st post already says, basically, ‘he’s done the crime, done the time’ and that’s correct for 99% of people in prison (some let out earlier than their crimes/sentence warrants, but that’s another post/blog I guess) this man seem to be the 1% that a new law needs drafted. All I can say is…If we believe the 1st post on this blog from Wiehana and posts from AG a certain part of the public thinks this man should be set free…fair enough, but will these 2 posters then blame Collins/National (actually irrespective of who is minister/current Govt as these criminals will pop up at various times at end of their sentences) if he does rape/kill/abuse again?…or will their silence be deafening and offer no comment afterwards, or as I suspect blame some Govt dept/agency for him re offending as it’ll make them feel better or if they are left leaning the old addage of ‘never apologise’ and point finger becomes the order of the day?

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  15. Nostalgia-NZ (5,323 comments) says:

    I read yesterday that the Probation Service have applied to the High Court for a 10 year extended Supervision Order that allows the subject of the order to be under guard 24 hours a day for at least 12 months. I read that on Yahoo and copied it to another thread. As GPT1 says they virtually want to enact a Murray Wilson Detention Law. I wish there was some clarity between what the Minister wants to do and the order the Justice Department are seeking – seems they’re trying to row the boat in different directions, probably par for the course.

    Are we to expect under the proposed law that some people might be imprisoned because they are suspected of being some kind of threat, terrorist, drug baron etc but where the Crown don’t have absolute proof that would ensure a conviction? Just on a ‘trust me’ basis.

    I know there is a bit of a hurdle with the Bill of Rights, and as much as any government would want to make something unfair look at least fair in some way – how would that overcome the fact that Wilson was never warned that if he didn’t do the courses etc that he has refused, that he could be detained beyond his sentence? This could be shaping up to a 3 strikes situation without the warnings and without a conviction – what next?

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  16. Nookin (3,573 comments) says:

    AG
    “…that on the automated sexual recidivism scale (ASRS), Mr Wilson is assessed as being in the high risk category and records that offenders in this category re-offend sexually at a rate which is approximately four times that of the average rate. ”
    Do you know what the average rate of reoffending is? If the average recidivism rate is, say, 13% doesnt the report quoted mean that there is more than a 50% chance that he will reoffend. If so, is that an acceptable risk.

    If the average recidivism rate is 25%, what does that mean in terms of someone who is 4 times more likely to offend than the average.

    The law will take a car off the road if it does not meet specified standards. Those standards are assessed having regard to risk of harm. We do the same with aircraft, buildings, machinery etc.

    From a jurisprudential perspective, is there a point where risk of harm arising out of another person’s deviant proclivities becomes so unacceptable that that person should be taken off the road, as it were?

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  17. kapiti (11 comments) says:

    Labour (Clark) ‘retrospectively’ implemented laws to make their Rort of $800K tax payers money for the pledge card legal…so it’s not unprecedented to make a law after the fact eh?, or is that too close to the truth that you don’t like to hear?

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  18. Daigotsu (472 comments) says:

    Why don’T we have the death penalty again? Fucking Labour…

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  19. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Jesus AG, is that seriously your best attempt at an argument? We don’t put rubbish dumps next to anyone’s house, we put them in isolation way the fuck away from people. Kind of like putting an irredeemable scumbag in isolation don’t you think? Your analogy demolishes your own argument. 0 / 10, must try harder.

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  20. Leaping Jimmy (16,740 comments) says:

    As some have alluded, this is not a political but a constitutional issue. Politics therefore should not enter into it: i.e. this should not be done as a point solution to deal with a particular case but should only be done as a matter of principle to be applied to all, no matter how justified the current point solution may be, to some people.

    If this law is passed it basically removes the blindfold from the statue atop the Old Bailey. That’s what it does. Justice is no longer impartial. This is why it’s constitutional, not political, regardless of whether the proponents of this legislation recognise that or not.

    As GPT1 points out above, we might as well throw out Westminster Justice and start again. Do we really want to do that?

    Two points: 1) how fucking stupid do politicians have to be, to propose something like this as a serious proposition and 2) how fucking stupid do people who support such a move have to be, in order to support something like this?

    Seriously. Fucking d’oh. Shame on you guys. Don’t you know anything? Why the fuck are you guys happy to throw out hundreds of years of jurisprudence over this one case?

    Sorry, I’m not as polite as Weihana, GPT1, nasska, flipper et al. I do apologise, it’s just you didn’t seem to be getting it, that’s all.

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

    flipper, Bernadette Courtney has simply written a very personal account of how she felt at the time and why, as a private citizen, she feels the way she does now. Granted, not all private citizens have access to the pages of the DomPost, but she’s not holding herself out as an expert.

    Aside from that, I agree with you (and mikenmild) – there’s a slippery slope danger here that could see all sorts of people considered undesirable subject to indefinite detention if we’re not careful. And what worries me is that National has a track record of incautious law making on criminal justice issues.

    As AG points out, most jurisdictions who have such orders require that the matter come before the a judge of the highest court. The weakness, at least insofar as I’ve observed, is that the state provides the psychiatric and other evaluators and the prisoner – who by this time has long been in jail, and is usually penniless – cannot.

    That’s akin to holding a trial in which the only witnesses called are those for the prosecution. My experience is more with pre-sentence reports but the same difficulty applies. For instance I tell everyone that if they admit to a drug addiction they’ll have a line in the report saying “minimises personal responsibility for their offending: likely to reoffend” whereas if they accept full responsibility and say their addiction was no excuse the report will read “fails to acknowledge the extent of their addiction: likely to reoffend”. I always advise the accused to get their own private evaluation if they can afford it (and have a few well-disposed psychs up my sleeve who’ll do the occasional pro bono report… but I have to ration that for the really deserving cases).

    I’ve no doubt this suggestion will be met with abhorrence by the “throw away the key” advocates but if we’re to keep people like Wilson jailed indefinitely then we need to create a system which can do that while protecting those people at whom such an order is directed but who do not deserve it. And that means Legal Aid funding for barristers, psychiatrists, psychologists and others to put the case for the “defendant”, otherwise the process is incredibly one-sided and unfair.

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  22. nasska (12,111 comments) says:

    Daigotsu

    The day immediately prior to the day that a police officer planted a cartridge case which helped to convict Arthur Alan Thomas was coincidentally the last day that capital punishment could have been reintroduced in NZ.

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  23. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    I must agree with Weihana, GPT and Prof Geddis.

    This is an abhorrent piece of legislation, proposed to deal with an abhorrent person. Much as we might fear and revile Wilson, any proposal that can be described as a ‘necessary evil’ goes too far.

    The idea of imprisoning a person without trial, based upon an evaluation of what they might do is just so wrong that it should not be proposed or considered by us. Even if we are talking about people such as Wilson.

    I would suggest that GPT’s proposal of the Extended Supervision Order, if Wilson qualifies, is a better idea.

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  24. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    Chuck,

    Yes, Parliament is supreme. But A V Dicey posited that Parliament could also order the death of all blue eyed at birth, though how many of us would support such a law?

    The fact is that although Parliament is supreme, there are some things that it just should do, and this is one of them.

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  25. Nostalgia-NZ (5,323 comments) says:

    Daigotsu

    I think the late, great Rob Muldoon crossed the floor on that vote.

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  26. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    whoops, I meant that there are things that Parliament should NOT do…

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

    The women I interviewed were broken. Some had had mental breakdowns, one had become a drug addict, one was a bag of bones.

    Incidentally, if National actually gave a damn about victims, let alone about reducing recidivism rates, they would reverse their decsion to defund the Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Society (PARS) – a Judith Collins initiative – and would introduce an in-prison program proven overseas to help – The Sycamore Tree.

    And if Labour gave a damn, they’d adopt that as policy.

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  28. Salacious Crumb (31 comments) says:

    Okay then hand wringers.
    Please name his next victim so he can get his preventative detention sentence. That’s basically what you are saying.
    Lawyers who think they have a better understanding than criminal psychologists about the minds of predators like Wilson are as dangerous as Wilson himself.
    They are right about this being a human rights issue. The right of women in this country to live without threat from a pure psychopath who every person who has had contact with him knows he will reoffend.

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  29. kapiti (11 comments) says:

    How much money is too much on criminals?….as a teenager in UK I was keen/eager /willing to learn a trade but couldn’t find an opening. I tried a few ‘Job oppertunity Schemes’ that were running in the early 80’s that gave $$$’s to the employer to take on new apprentices and worked (3 month at a time) as a plumber/welder/burner and electrician…but soon found out that the grant the employer got was worth more than keeping me on as an actual apprentice than to just work their way through 3mth wasting time each new guy. I hear with dismay that prisoners get the full apprenticeship in prison and Govt subsidy allows firms to take them on and complete practical theory and lo and behold..they are qualified tradesmen…WTF!!!…shoulda been a criminal eh?

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  30. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Cry me a river, reid, Weihana, Andrew Geddis and the other crimcuddlers. Cry me a fucking river. This turd has no human rights, he voted himself out of the human race. If there was any justice, his only rights would be a last meal and a blindfold.

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  31. mikenmild (12,446 comments) says:

    PIA
    Anyone else you would like to summarily execute without trial?

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  32. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    mikenmild you know perfectly well he’s had a trial, he was given 21 years, remember? What I’m saying is that if there was any justice, the death penalty would have been available and applied then, and none of this would be a problem. I’ll take your cheap and dishonest straw man as an admission that you have have no actual argument.

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  33. mikenmild (12,446 comments) says:

    But that’s not what you said. He was sentenced to 21 years, not 21 years plus however much longer we reckon he needs.

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  34. Leaping Jimmy (16,740 comments) says:

    PIA, you miss the point. This is not about a single case it’s about the fundamental design of the criminal justice system which has numerous proven over time developed over centuries checks and balances built into it designed to give us confidence and faith that it’s impartial and well, just.

    That’s what’s at stake. This is not about some individual who might do something when he gets out.

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  35. AG (1,834 comments) says:

    Nookin,

    Sorry – I can’t give you that information for certain (I’m not expert enough in the area to do so). But my understanding is that even with those sexual offenders classed as highest risk, it’s still a less than 50/50 chance that any given individual will reoffend. If anyone has better information than this, I’d genuinely like to see it.

    I also located this paper which can be mined for whatever it is worth by anyone with better understanding of statistics than I have!
    http://www.ourpaws.info/cramer/recent%20research%20(N=9,305).pdf

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  36. Colville (2,318 comments) says:

    A 9mm in the back of the head is the best answer.
    Some cunts just dont deserve another sunrise.

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  37. MT_Tinman (3,322 comments) says:

    PIA I shall remember that when the next communist government has all right-wing voters committed to funny farms where the nice Labour party volunteers will vote on our behalf every three years.

    I would accept some form of supervision order including an absolute ban on consorting with vulnerable members of the public (in this scum’s case females and children) but not incarceration without trial because some “expert” considers him a threat.

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  38. mikenmild (12,446 comments) says:

    PIA/Colville
    I don’t think this is an argument about the death penalty. But even if it were, how many people would be arguing for death sentences to be handed out retrospectively after a trial had already imposed another sentence?

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  39. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Once more, cry me a river, crimcuddlers. The justice system has clearly failed in it’s primary purpose of making the community safe, if this individual is let out. It clearly needs fixing, and I applaud this effort to fix it.

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  40. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Tinman, an argument depending on a “what if” scenario is only worth as much as the scenario is likely to ever happen in reality. Given that your argument hinges on a scenario that has zero chance of happening, what do think your “argument” is worth?

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  41. nasska (12,111 comments) says:

    Colville

    You may well be right but the time for sentencing in this case was twenty years ago. The best outcome is probably the Extended Supervision Order as suggested by GPT & endorsed by FES. It remains to be seen if this can be a condition of Wilson’s release.

    Even the most deranged of socialists would hesitate to minimise the risk this arsehole presents but the Western system of justice we enjoy will be compromised if we allow retrospective legislation.

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  42. berend (1,690 comments) says:

    In this case I don’t get the slippery slope argument. This guy will commit violence again. With 100% certainty. Where’s the slippery slope?

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  43. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    I just don’t get how it could be a bad thing that he could be detained? As for the following due process argument”? It’s not like he’s been caught kicking cats. Fucking them maybe, if the beastiality charges are an indication.
    It would seem by all accounts he is an evil bastard. Why shouldn’t we implement legislation to protect ourselves from him? Without conscience, he has nothing to loose and the argument for detention to prevent future aberrant behavior is compelling.
    You’d have to have an extreme list of offenses to be considered for detention. The delicate socialist flowers here (and that doesn’t mean you Nasska :) need to ask yourselves “Why waste time on human filth?
    Go and busy yourselves arguing your left wing education causes and leave justice to the right wingers. You’re a danger to society promoting your “hug a Crim”, rubbish.

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  44. big bruv (14,224 comments) says:

    “But even if it were, how many people would be arguing for death sentences to be handed out retrospectively after a trial had already imposed another sentence?”

    I would. We could start with William Bell, Clayton Weatherston, Graham Burton and then move on to David Bain. Next would be Wilson.

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  45. Leaping Jimmy (16,740 comments) says:

    The justice system has clearly failed in it’s primary purpose of making the community safe, if this individual is let out. It clearly needs fixing

    Yes PIA I’m sure everyone who disagrees with you generally agrees with you over this.

    The question is you cannot design an impartial, just system based on the exigencies of a single case. You just can’t. That’s mental. That’s fucking stupid. That’s just really, really, dumb.

    We’re talking about a whole system here which applies to everyone in the whole society and the really critical thing about this system is: it has the power to imprison you and I and even kill us, if we choose to let it. That’s a serious system. In order for we who are subject to the system not to freak out about it we need to have confidence that if say, a cop says we did “x” then we will have a fair go, re: defending ourselves. And all other attendant matters which can arise within this system.

    If we as a country say: OK, in this instance we have an A-grade a-hole who needs “special treatment” and we approve the revision of the system accordingly, what’s to stop some future politicians and/or citizens from saying, hey look, you know this PIA guy, he’s a bit like that case we had a few decades ago, I know he’s served his sentence but I don’t like him at all so why don’t we just keep him inside since his eyes are real close together and I don’t like that, at all.

    The answer is, there is nothing to stop that if we do it this time, PIA. That’s why we shouldn’t do it, this time.

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  46. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    Rex W: Welcome back Sir…have you been on holiday somewhere without internet access ? One of your own volition I hope..

    This issue is actually a perfect example of the theoretical vs. the real world…the legal and constitutional theorists make excellent points..ones that would get them an A on any paper in jurisprudential theory…and then we have the reality that this defective sub-human WILL (there you go, I will use that word) offend in the same way again if he is not physically prevented from doing so….and then we have the “9mm bullet/retrospective return of the death penalty advocates on the opposite side whose feelings are perfectly understandable, but no more in touch with reality than those of Geddis and his mates.

    I myself am suspending judgment until I see the draft legislation, which I hope is made widely available well before it is put through the House…and make no mistake munchkins, if it has government support, that is the reality; Labour and the Greens can filibuster until 4 am all they like, it will pass. And this is where I have to agree with the theorists…it’s too important an issue to be pushed through like that.

    Nasska: Just read your post…you can bet the farm the Greens will oppose even an extended supervision order for this scumbag…they always oppose any extension of law and order legislation

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  47. mikenmild (12,446 comments) says:

    nasska may not be the most liberal among the Kiwiblog community, but IMO he has got it right here over the likes of PIA, Colville and Monique
    No one here supports Wilson or wants to cuddle him.
    I happen to think that a reasonable question to ask is, after Wilson, who’s next?

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

    “He was sentenced to 21 years, not 21 years plus”

    According to my arithmetic he has not done anywhere near 21 years yet.

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  49. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    Chuck B: And that is a point no-one has noticed in all of this (and to be fair it is a side issue)…Thanks to the benevolent Clark government and the Sentencing Act 2002, no sentence handed down by a Judge in NZ – at least before three strikes became law – meant what it said. Judges say when sentencing “you will go to prison for X years…” when what they should be saying is “You will go to prison for no longer than 2/3 of the X years I am sentencing you to today, but if you tick all the boxes while in jail it could be as little as 1/3..”…That’s totally Orwellian, and we have had it for ten years now.

    Mikey: I wouldnt be so sure that “no one here wants to cuddle him….” at least metaphorically…Those defending his rights wouldn’t want him within 100 miles of their place…

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  50. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    reid, as before, an argument hinging on a “what if” scenario that is not ever going to happen, is worth nothing at all. The “slippery slope” argument on its own is nonsense because you can make it for anything. There’s currently a law where you can get a fine for against going 101 kph.. but what if they made it life imprisonment with no parole ! OH MY GOD IT’S A SLIPPERY SLOPE!!!! As you can see, you can make a slippery slope out of anythign if you’re prepared to propose ludicrous “what ifs” that are simply never going to happen. Nothing I do, and nothing that any normal human being does, will ever be subject of this law.

    The question is you cannot design an impartial, just system based on the exigencies of a single case. You just can’t. That’s mental. That’s fucking stupid. That’s just really, really, dumb.

    No, it’s really really really silly of you to say this is about one person. There are about half a dozen of the very worst offenders who are likely to come under this order, Wilson is just the most obvious. But the law is ONLY ABOUT THE VERY WORST. It has no bearing on the rest of the system. If you are just a run of the mill scumbag and commit one “ordinary” murder, you will be under the same law as always. It changes nothing for the 99.99 whatever % of offenders who are being dealt with at least approximately adequately and appropriately under current laws. You are going to have to work REALLY hard to qualify for a detention order.

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  51. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson (1,102) Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Weihana, I completely disagree. Violent abusive people must not be released until it is safe to do so. My long-time view is that the Government should tender out their management to private providers who must undertake financial responsibility for any and all crimes they commit. If no private provider is prepared to take on that contract they stay in jail. Likewise if they refuse to cooperate with their manager.

    Once these people have proven themselves a serious, ongoing risk to others they forfeit their right to freedom.

    That’s all well and good but that was not the law at the time. You completely miss the point about the importance of the rule of law and a government that cannot use arbitrary powers to imprison people. No wonder the government can get away with such proposals when people like yourself don’t seem aware of what the argument is about.

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  52. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    “You completely miss the point about the importance of the rule of law….”

    Make sure you remember that statement when you next bleat about someone being convicted for possession / using drugs / the supply of drugs etc.

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  53. tom hunter (5,134 comments) says:

    This is both a good debate and a godawful situation to deal with. Allow this piece of human excrement to go free after serving time, or allow the state to change the degree of punishment for crime retrospectively.

    I’ve often argued in favour of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights in terms of limiting what the state can do, and I’ve often run up against well-meaning people who don’t have a problem with screwing both things over “for the greater good”. Recently I’ve seen American “liberals” argue that we don’t really need to worry about reductio ad absurdum laws because they’re so crazy the politicians would never pass them. There are a lot of other Americans who think that such things are quite possible and look to history for examples.

    One of the classic arguments in NZ is around traffic laws and fatalities. It’s been pointed out that we could probably drop the death rate on roads to zero – if we were prepared to enact a police state where enforcement is unlimited and based on guilty until proven innocent.

    This is not the same as that debate, but is of a piece with it, in that the state must have limits placed on it, even at the risk of people’s lives and in saying that I have no doubt that the lives of women will be at risk when this guy is released. I have zero faith in those experts who claim that he’s statistically unlikely to rape again, and I have almost as little faith in the authorities to watch him closely enough to stop him.

    But one of the basic limits to state power is that it should not be able to retroactively change the punishment involved in a law. Once that step has been taken – all in the name of doing the right thing – there will be others who want the state to act in the same way and for the same reason. I’m not comforted by the idea that such things would be only “rare” and “exceptional”. Once something as fundamental as this limit on state power is breached, you’ll be amazed at how it can be widened over time, requiring only a majority in parliament and the usual moral power of those who utterly convinced that they are doing good.

    And if I sound like I’m being blase let me say that I have a wife and daughter. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that they could be the victims of this evil man. In which case I can only request that, should I ever be in a position where I can prevent their rape at his hands by gunning him down, that you’ll not be too condemnatory of my action. In the same way I’m not able to condemn either the pro or co sides of this argument.

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  54. nasska (12,111 comments) says:

    PIA

    ….”You are going to have to work REALLY hard to qualify for a detention order.”…..

    No. You are going to have to HAVE worked really hard to qualify & this is the bone of contention. If, as in your instance, someone was sent down for life for doing 101KMH they would be sentenced as proscribed by the law at the time the offense was committed.

    If you paid your $40 fine which would expect now & a year or so down the track you were carted off to pokey to begin serving life because the law had since changed that would be a valid comparison.

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  55. jims_whare (409 comments) says:

    May be the answer is not to violate long held freedoms to keep him locked up, may be the answer is for a group of concerned citizens to show up out side the prison on the day of release with a pair of sharp scissors and perform some immediate surgery which would definitely help with his re offending ability.

    The same citizens may also wish to perform other physical alterations to his said body that would largely prevent any future offending (not too many wheelchair bound rapists tend to re-offend I would have thought)

    No freedom principle violated, Wilson doesn’t stay in jail without trial, and his victims will be able to sleep at night knowing that his crippled ass won’t be targeting any more innocent females.

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  56. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    What bullshit Weihana, there is nothing contrary to the rule of law about this. The government is passing a law, and the the high court is going to have the power to apply it. That IS the rule of law. If you don’t agree with the laws, that’s fine, that’s why we have elections.

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  57. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    Despite my personal view that we need to find a way to keep very high risk of high offence crims off the street we all know that rushed legislation is invariably bad legislation. Using this one person to drive through legislation may be a good opportunistic approach but it likely to lead us down an ineffective and expensive path.

    I would ask the question of all those who seem to believe that the rights of individuals with history of not behaving like they are part of our society outweigh the rights of the rest of society to be safe. So, if we had a system that enabled protection of the rest of us from the more obvious pyschotic, broken, evil (use whatever description you like) but had the appropriate checks and balances would you support it? I think not based on many remarks.

    And please, please, please do not use the argument that this is the beginning of a slippery slope that leads to dictatorship, which appears to be the standard example. That’s a nonsense argument. Dictatorships invariably require the active cooperation of the armed forces and luckilly we don’t have any.

    Many laws and byelaws infringe on what can be seen as my basic rights already. I can’t cut down trees on my land that I own for instance. Strangely enough this has not led to gas chambers etc (seeing as this thread has already been Godwined)

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  58. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    PIA: well said..sorry Weihana you often make good points, but that was not one of them…

    Jims Whare: with respect, the “cut their balls off and they wont reoffend” is simply wishful thinking…it – along with the less bloody “chemical castration” – has been tried, and does not always work.

    Sorry to disappoint my detractors who see me as a leader of the “hang ‘e high and fuck the evidence” lobby….

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  59. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Salacious Crumb (27) Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 6:04 pm


    Okay then hand wringers.
    Please name his next victim so he can get his preventative detention sentence. That’s basically what you are saying.
    Lawyers who think they have a better understanding than criminal psychologists about the minds of predators like Wilson are as dangerous as Wilson himself.

    Yet another person who doesn’t understand the argument. It’s not about questioning criminal psychologists. They may be right but it is irrelevant. There is no lawful basis for imprisoning this man after he has served his sentence other than Parliament exercising its supreme authority to arbitrarily imprison someone in contravention of basic civil rights. That is not something we should permit our government to do. If they can do it for one person they can do it for anyone!

    It’s remarkable how so many people on a right-wing blog, who proclaim to be supporters of small government, have no problem with a government that can use arbitrary powers to imprison people. Too many people who have far too much trust in their government. The makings of a police state. China will be so proud.

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

    I wonder what the legal professors would suggest if it was reliably reported by a prison psychologist that some nut job in prison was planing on making that other nut job in Norway look like an amateur.

    Would the same slippery slope argument apply?

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  61. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    nasska – no, it’s about the present. This fuckface clearly hasn’t reformed in any way, refuses to do anythign to address his offending. If he HAD put his behaviour in the past, even to a some tiny extent, he would be released as per normal. It’s purely because he, in 2012, is just as fucked up as he was at the time of offending, that this applies to him. It’s all his choice. If he had accepted what he did was wrong, showed a change in behaviour, attended counselling etc etc he would not be in this position.

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  62. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    But on the “slippery slope” argument…the Greens were always dreadfully concerned about the “slippery slope” – which they invariably saw as leading to detention without trial and the gas chambers – on any law and order measure.

    Funnily enough, any argument that – for example – legalising marijuana for medical use might be the start of a slippery slope, with sympathetic doctors prescribing it for anyone who turned up at the surgery was always dismissed as the ravings of the loony far right…Sauce for the goose and all that…

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  63. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    PIA,

    Following your logic, if Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi or is the rule maker then he can pass whatever law he likes and therefore we have the “rule of law”. FFS, you don’t understand what “the rule of law” means. It means due process, laws that apply to everyone equally, law which can be relied upon as the law and not just guidelines for dictators.

    What you describe is the “rule of men”: men who exercise arbitrary power. Yes Parliament always has this power as they are the supreme authority in our system, but we expect that there are certain things they should not do. This is one of them because it is the slippery slope to totalitarianism.

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  64. mikenmild (12,446 comments) says:

    I’m not sure that it is a slippery slope to dictatorship, but if this is applied to one offender, then it will be applied to more, and then more as we find more cases.

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  65. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    David Garrett,


    Funnily enough, any argument that – for example – legalising marijuana for medical use might be the start of a slippery slope, with sympathetic doctors prescribing it for anyone who turned up at the surgery was always dismissed as the ravings of the loony far right…Sauce for the goose and all that…

    I agree with you, the Greens are being disingenuous, and so what.

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  66. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @Weihana

    “It’s remarkable how so many people on a right-wing blog, who proclaim to be supporters of small government, have no problem with a government that can use arbitrary powers to imprison people. Too many people who have far too much trust in their government. The makings of a police state. China will be so proud.”

    Wow! You did it again. Cue dictatorship argument with overwhelming powers to government to do what they like rather than an argument about prevention of harm.

    I will restate my question

    I would ask the question of all those who seem to believe that the rights of individuals with history of not behaving like they are part of our society outweigh the rights of the rest of society to be safe. So, if we had a system that enabled protection of the rest of us from the more obvious pyschotic, broken, evil (use whatever description you like) but had the appropriate checks and balances would you support it? I think not based on many remarks.

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  67. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    mikenmild,

    The government using arbitrary powers to imprison people not being the slippery slope to dictatorship? :)

    Typically governments exercising such powers serves as an example of how totalitarian they are. Of course, every dictatorship justifies it on the grounds that those locked up deserve it. That’s why cases like these are dangerous because every reasonable person recognizes that a person like Wilson deserves to be locked up. It’s also why making law based on one case leads to bad lawmaking.

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  68. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    Time we got proper accounting practice into life. Everyone should be born with a clean slate and when they achieve well and do something useful in society they get credits added to their ledger.

    When they fuck up they get a debit. Any benefit they glean from the rest of us (the so called state) they should have to have credits on the balance sheet to pay for them.

    If you are in negative territory already when its time to pay the debt you have a problem.

    In the beast’s case I suspect we could only see what his body parts would fetch on the open market to mitigate his huge debt to society.

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  69. Nostalgia-NZ (5,323 comments) says:

    slijbal
    7.27

    Putting the slippery slope aside.

    It remains that the Justice Department have applied for an extended supervision order.
    Even if that is unsuccessful which is highly doubtful, Wilson will be under the attention of the police because of the heightened interest/hysteria surrounding him. So we have an application for a supervision order, heightened public anxiety, a police force who will take full interest.

    In many ways its unfortunate that it has been dealt with this way, likely being that had the Wilson case been handled with the confidence of the High Court order, and other appropriate measures ensuring there was little need for public anxiety the country would be looking at rushed through laws because of the release of this man which has been 21 or so years in the making.

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  70. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @Nostalgia

    i think I agreed with you – wrong way to put legislation in place – I said

    “despite my personal view that we need to find a way to keep very high risk of high offence crims off the street we all know that rushed legislation is invariably bad legislation. Using this one person to drive through legislation may be a good opportunistic approach but it likely to lead us down an ineffective and expensive path.”

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  71. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    slijmbal,


    I would ask the question of all those who seem to believe that the rights of individuals with history of not behaving like they are part of our society outweigh the rights of the rest of society to be safe. So, if we had a system that enabled protection of the rest of us from the more obvious pyschotic, broken, evil (use whatever description you like) but had the appropriate checks and balances would you support it? I think not based on many remarks.

    But there are no checks and balances here. Parliament exercising its supreme authority to lock a man up is not a check or a balance. Parliaments authority is the most arbitrary there is, it is absolute. There is no higher authority than Parliament. If we allow it to exercise its authority like this, then it can do it for anyone.

    The other thing which you ignore is the necessity of society being safe from its government. You ignore the tradeoff that some bad citizens will, from time to time, be let loose in order to keep the government restrained and in check. You demand absolute safety and in doing so you allow the government unfettered power. Yet you talk of checks and balances.

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  72. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    No weihana, you’re not following my logic at all, you’re changing it completely with cheap dishonesty. Remember the bit about the election? If you don’t agree with this law, vote for someone who’s going to repeal it. Anything a dictator does has no legitimacy. What childish nonsense you speak, Weihana.

    How come none of you leftists can make an honest argument about this? I’ve seen every possible variety of primary school level straw man nonsense, sophistry and dishonesty from the lot of you, deliberately distorting and misframing at every opportunity. Where are your actual, sound, rational responses to any of the comments in support of this change? I see nothing but desperation from people who are sure they believe somerhing but cannot give any valid reason why, just spinning your wheels randomly in any direction and pretending to yourselves you’ve got traction. Pathetic.

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  73. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    Nostalgia: It is NOT “21 years in the making”…see my earlier posts…

    also, the police will not be able to prevent this prick reoffending…they cannot be everywhere…I was talking to a woman just yesterday who called 111 because her ex- partner was actually in her house threatening her with sexual violence…fortunately for her, he left, but it was one and a half hourse before the police arrived…this asshole can do a helluva lot of damage in a lot less time than that…

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  74. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Elaycee (2,394) Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    “You completely miss the point about the importance of the rule of law….”

    Make sure you remember that statement when you next bleat about someone being convicted for possession / using drugs / the supply of drugs etc.

    Bullshit. I advocate that the law be changed, I do not hold it against prosecutors, police et al who must uphold the law as it is written. But I do criticize the average idiot and hypocrite who advocates for the law to remain as is.

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  75. mikenmild (12,446 comments) says:

    PIA
    Perhaps I could summarise it simply.
    Many posters on this thread oppose the imposition of a retrospective prison sentence. They oppose it because it is wrong in principle and because it is being rushed through.

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  76. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @Weihana

    you appear to be avoiding answering my question and are starting to look somewhat troll like.

    I have stated that I think this legislation in this way is the wrong approach but you refer back to it in responding to a different question.

    @ milk

    it’s not a retrospective sentencing

    it’s about protecting people from the obviously broken, psychotic, evil etc

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  77. UrbanNeocolonialist (315 comments) says:

    How does someone sentenced to 21 years and regarded as about the worst on the scale of likelihood for recidivism get out after 17 years?

    It is unfortunate that he wasn’t sentenced to preventative detention, seems in retrospect to be an error on the part of the judge and probably a lesson learned by the judiciary. It is also surprising that it has not been possible to further incarcerate this guy using existing legislation, given that he appears to be such a danger and apparently unwilling or unable to rehabilitate. If there is nothing on the books that allows this to happen then we need it, even if it is retrospective. We are certainly capable of enacting such legislation with checks and balances.

    A sensible society does not abide lions wandering around in their neighbourhoods.

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  78. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Put it away,


    Remember the bit about the election?

    Yeah, and? An elected government can be every bit as much a tyranny as one unelected person, even more so since they have the backing of a large section of society. You are aware that the Nazi Party was elected right?

    Do I think we are verging on a one-party state? No, but likewise I don’t think we should be following their example and seeing where it takes us. As I’ve said before, just wait till the Greens are in power and they get to arbitrarily imprison those who are a “danger” to society.

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  79. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    “A sensible society does not abide lions wandering around in their neighbourhoods.”

    Ah so that’s why we have destroyed the Gangsta’s and Mobster’s UN! :)

    Well I never! Wondered where they had all gone! :)

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  80. Nostalgia-NZ (5,323 comments) says:

    slijmbal

    Yes you did!

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  81. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    The “retrospective” is red herring, the point is they’re still dangerous right now. It’s a sentence for currently being a dangerous scumbag who has not changed from the scumbag they were when they went inside. My heart bleeds for them not a jot.

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  82. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    slijmbal (485) Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Sorry if I’ve misconstrued your comments.

    I’m not against detaining these types of people for as long as necessary. So if that’s what you’re trying to get across then I agree. What I am against is using Parliament’s power to imprison a person who has served their sentence.

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  83. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    A sensible society would ensure their hearts bled for you and I PIA. :)

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  84. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    Urban neo: I see you are new…it might pay to read the earlier comments before you comment yourself…

    this guy is getting out now rather than in 2016 (21 years after he was sentenced) is because of the Sentencing Act 2002, which allows parole eligibility at 1/3 of the sentence given by the Judge, and mandatory release at 2/3…oh, and automatically reduces all sentences of two years or less by 50%…so the “two years” the dishonest finance company director got the other day automatically becomes 1 year…

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  85. Nostalgia-NZ (5,323 comments) says:

    slijmbal
    7.54

    First of all we need to see how the application for an extended supervision order goes.

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  86. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    We might getting a bit of consensus here

    Pushing through rushed laws is daft

    We need a way to protect society from the obviously broken, evil etc

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  87. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Jeez Weihana, Godwin’s law already? Are you really that lacking in cogent argument?

    “You are aware that the Nazi Party was elected right?”

    And you are aware that for three of those elections they had banned all other parties, right? The last semi-legitimate election being in 1932 if I remember rightly. So this has exactly what to do with my argument that the rule of law is legitimated by the right to vote for something different?

    I repeat, anyone got an honest argument here? Weihana’s clearly not capable of it.

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  88. Nostalgia-NZ (5,323 comments) says:

    David Garrett
    7.51

    I’m sure we should be careful not to feed paranoia on this one.
    I’m confident that Commissioner of Police Peter Marshall will handle this situation should Wilson somehow avoid an extended supervision order.

    It’s obvious that I’m against the proposed retrospective legislation because I see other alternatives, not that I necessarily agree with but which provide a pragmatic solution.

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  89. orewa1 (410 comments) says:

    Ok if retrospective legislation is so abhorrent, lets have a pragmatic, forward looking law.

    Lets call it the “Beast of Blenheim Act” and make it specific to this one animal. It will provide for his being locked up indefinitely for the protection of every New Zealand woman. It can be well justified on the basis of his past record, and would avoid the slur of being retrospective.

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  90. mikenmild (12,446 comments) says:

    This looks like an interesting piece on this subject:
    http://www.criminologyresearchcouncil.gov.au/reports/200405-03.html
    I understand that in Australia specific laws have been passed on occasion to retain specified offenders. A little bit like a modern-day Act of Attainder.

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  91. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Put it away,


    Jeez Weihana, Godwin’s law already?

    Well I only intended to come on here fore a minute so may as well cut to the chase. :)


    And you are aware that for three of those elections they had banned all other parties, right? The last semi-legitimate election being in 1932 if I remember rightly.

    True, but that is after the fact of their rise to power. They didn’t begin as a one-party dictatorship. The means of gaining their power was through the democratic process.


    So this has exactly what to do with my argument that the rule of law is legitimated by the right to vote for something different?

    Because voting for something doesn’t make it legitimate. Germans voted for the Nazi party. That didn’t legitimize what they wanted to do. The rule of law is more than just voting for something to be the law.

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

    @David Garret: Hi David… pressure of work, location of work (Julia’s much-vaunted National Broadband Network hasn’t made it’s way to impoverished Aboriginal towns in the Pilbara), family issues have all kept me away from blogs, and will probably curtial my involvement for some time to come.

    @Weihana

    But there are no checks and balances here. Parliament exercising its supreme authority to lock a man up is not a check or a balance.

    That’s a misinterpretation of the law (assuming National model the law on that used in other jurisdictions). What the law will do is provide a mechanism whereby some authority (here in Australia it’s the Director of Public Prosecutions) will apply to the court to have him held beyond his release date. Such application will need to be made every x years. The government will not exercise it’s authority to lock this man up, it will only vest that authority in a judge.

    However, you’ve inadvertently hit on the key risk (the thing that’s going to tip the whole mess rolling down a slippery slope, berend). Imagine if this law had been enacted a decade or so ago. And that prosecutors in their (excessive) zeal decided that, say, Peter Ellis was a “dangerous sex offender”. And this would have been during the reign of Helen Clark, remember.

    There would no doubt have been just the kind of outcry we’re seeing above, but from a very different sector of society, calling for Ellis to be jailed indefinitely.

    And here’s the slippery slope part – if the judge had not done so, you can bet your life we’d have had an outraged Minister (of Justice, or Attorney General or Police) saying “…if the judiciary insist on being soft, we’ll amend the Act to remove their discretion”.

    That is how Parliament – indirectly, but very effectively – “exercises its supreme authority to lock a man up”. But it’s usually the next man (likely even more deserving of release), not the one that caused the outcry.

    Perhaps when someone of this ilk has completed the punishment part of the consequences it’s time to keep the community safe AND try to see what can be done to “fix” them. Of course we did away with our inpatient mental health facilities, including the secure ones, in the name of being “more humane”. That worked out brilliantly, didn’t it?

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  93. nasska (12,111 comments) says:

    PIA

    Your (very relevant) opinion favours pragmatism above all else.

    Many of us here consider retrospective legislation to be bad legislation.

    We all seem to agree that Wilson is subhuman & should be prevented from reoffending…..we only differ on the method to be used.

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  94. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    Shit Rex…keep on with posts like that one and we will become friends…

    I think if anyone thinks this is an easy issue they are probably not very …aware…there’s a good neutral word…

    Nasska: well said…but I see Geddis has pissed off…i am not so sure he would agree with you…the weasel doesn’t have a practising certificate which gives him a certain leeway to say what he likes…

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  95. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    orewa1 (161) Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Ok if retrospective legislation is so abhorrent, lets have a pragmatic, forward looking law.

    Lets call it the “Beast of Blenheim Act” and make it specific to this one animal. It will provide for his being locked up indefinitely for the protection of every New Zealand woman. It can be well justified on the basis of his past record, and would avoid the slur of being retrospective.

    After which we’ll have the “Chris Kahui” Act. Then we can pass the “John Gillies” Act. Then we’ll have the “comedian who cannot be named who molested his daughter” Act. Then we’ll have the “Musician whose name we all know who sexually assaulted a girl in Wellington” Act. How about we just do away with the judiciary if we’re going to make up the law as we go along? We can just set up a weekly TV show for the public to vote on who’s guilty, who’s a danger and how they should be sentenced.

    True Justice. :)

    Edit: Duh. I forgot the “David Bain” Act. The most obvious of them all.

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  96. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    What calibre do you prefer nasska?

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  97. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Weihana

    “. Germans voted for the Nazi party. ”

    And for the next 12 years there was no opportunity to vote *against* the Nazi party, so this is irrelevant to the argument that the rule of law is legitimated by the ability to vote the government out. QED.

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  98. RF (1,492 comments) says:

    I suspect that the hand wringers who support Wilson’s freedom without supervision would crap themselves if he turned up as their new neighbour offering to babysit their children.

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

    Weihana, this is not about what he did or what the law was when he did it. It’s about what his condition is now and what he will do if he is freed. Your concern about retrospective legislation is irrelevant.

    Just as people can be committed under the Mental Health acts, there is nothing wrong with protecting the public from a real and immediate current threat for which previous crimes are merely a warning signal.

    Perhaps I need to restate the obvious, I am advocating a general provision – not just specific legislation for this case.

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  100. nasska (12,111 comments) says:

    Rex

    Your reappearance is long overdue & welcome.

    ….”Of course we did away with our inpatient mental health facilities, including the secure ones”…..

    Sometime, it seems long ago, we had such facilities & I think Wilson would have been a lifetime guest of one had he offended 40 odd years ago. We have society for the innocent & lawabiding, prisons for the truly bad & nowhere for the criminially insane who pose a real threat.

    Not one of NZ’s better moves.

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  101. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Put It Away,

    And how might someone vote in an election where the government arbitrarily imprisons that person? How reluctant will people be to vote against a government that has such power?

    But aside from that, the rule of law is more than the ability to vote them out. It is the concept that we are subject to laws, not the arbitrary rule of a supreme authority. If our supreme authority ignores judicial process and arbitrarily imprisons people then we are not subject to laws, we are subject to arbitrary power.

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  102. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    RF: forget about babysitting the children…they’d shit themselves if he turned up within 50 k’s of their place…funnily enough they all go very quiet – or revert to ad hom arguments – whenever you ask “would you have X living in your spare room for six months?”

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  103. nasska (12,111 comments) says:

    Johnboy

    I have an open mind on all things to do with calibre.

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  104. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson (1,103) Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Weihana, this is not about what he did…

    Bullshit. It is all about what he did otherwise we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Or do you propose that all citizens report to a psychiatrist so the government can assess their risk to society and lock them up without trial if necessary?

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  105. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    As have I nasska. Perhaps we could be put in charge of opening the beasts mind by judicious use of a suitable calibre?

    Would be a lot cheaper than the endless ranting of the lawyer/pseudo lawyer rabble as demonstrated above!

    Not that I have anything but deep respect for the second oldest profession of course. :)

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  106. nasska (12,111 comments) says:

    You present it as a tempting proposition Johnboy but I always have this problem in that the Socialists may regain power one day. If that unprincipled rabble had a precedent of retrospective choice on who dies & who lives ( & access to certain computer logs) your & my days would be numbered.

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  107. kowtow (8,945 comments) says:

    if he had been given consecutive sentences this wouldn’t have come up?

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  108. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    Don’t know about you but when that day comes I would engage Lord Birkenhead as my brief (if I could get him to reply to my mail)! :)

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  109. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Rex Widerstrom (4,532) Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 8:24 pm


    The government will not exercise it’s authority to lock this man up, it will only vest that authority in a judge.

    Yes that’s the charade, but the outcome is the same. The thing about judicial process is that it is a game, and it only works if everyone plays by the rules. If one side can change the rules in the middle of the game then the whole process is flawed. There is no impartiality if a judges decision can be effectively overturned by rewriting the rules as the game progresses. It’s like losing by 1 converted try to 3 goal kicks and then telling the Ref, actually a converted try is worth ten points.

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  110. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    Amazing how we get off topic

    We have many of those with legal training seeing this as the 1st act of the apocalypse. The 1st step to goose stepping down Queen Street (it’s already godwined) and those without seeing the need to protect the wider populace.

    Weihana’s ability to do an ad inifitum argument cannot be surpassed. For god’s sake give it up and do a real argument.

    Using a single example to set law is dumb – it’s the same as using a single example of a particular welfare example to support a specific welfare initiative.

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  111. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    “Using a single example to set law is dumb – it’s the same as using a single example of a particular welfare example to support a specific welfare initiative.”

    Worked for Paula! :)

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

    “So we have an application for a supervision order, heightened public anxiety, a police force who will take full interest.”

    Yeah right. Did anyone see Close up tonight? The police were told that an HIV positive sex offender who fancied young boy was living with two young children. The police did diddly squat. They did not even notify CYFS.

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  113. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    Wilson gets assessed by a panel of several psychiatrists and psychologists.
    They move a recommendation to a panel of several judges.
    This panel makes a recommendation to the Minister of Justice.
    On the basis of this recommendation the minister either lets Wilson go or puts him in preventative custody for a period recommended by the experts, judges, psychiatrists and psychologists.
    The process is completely open and transparent.
    This could be done for the few violent criminals that have finished their sentence but are still deemed a grave risk to the community.

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

    @RF – I wouldn’t want my kids to be babysat by Judith Collins, either. She’d make that hectoring harridan from “Super Nanny” look like Mary Poppins. Mind you, now my daughter’s grown into an intelligent, assertive, fearless woman who shares many of my views maybe I would want it. And the popcorn concession :-)

    @ nasska – thanks. I’ve been resisting the urge but alas I have DPF as a Facebook ‘friend’ (having been dragged, with exceptional reluctance, into ‘social networking’ because us PR types are supposed to, dontcha know) so I couldn’t resist this topic. I’ll try and come back as much as I can.

    @Weihana – precisely. NSW tried the “[Insert name here] Act” approach and ran into all sorts of legal problems. I haven’t time to find the reference, alas, but the higher courts rightfully take a dim view of the state using all it’s might against a single individual. Charles Manson keeps coming up for parole, and even with a notoriously conservative Supreme Court bench lawmakers haven’t had the chutzpah to try a “Manson Act”, fearing the Justices would strike it down.

    The irony here, of course, is that many of those baying for Wilson’s blood – even if it means a law aimed specifically at him – would be amongst those who most vehemently espouse “One law for all!!” if there’s a whiff of privilege. Sadly, there will be other Wilsons. And there will thousands and thousands of offenders not nearly as bad. If our lawmakers can’t write a statute that captures the former and poses no risk to the latter then they should piss off and let the rest of us – at least some of whom know what we’re doing – run the place.

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  115. niggly (832 comments) says:

    Weihana says “That’s all well and good but that was not the law at the time.”

    UrbanNeocolonialist says “How does someone sentenced to 21 years and regarded as about the worst on the scale of likelihood for recidivism get out after 17 years?”

    My question is, if one wishes to be pure in the sense that when people are sentenced as the law stood at the time and not be subject to retrospective changes later in life, then would it be deemed wrong for the Government to instead amend legislation now to ensure SMW serves these additional 4 years meaning he serves his (original) 21 years?

    David Garrett says (in ‘correcting’ UNC) “this guy is getting out now rather than in 2016 (21 years after he was sentenced) is because of the Sentencing Act 2002, which allows parole eligibility at 1/3 of the sentence given by the Judge, and mandatory release at 2/3…”

    My next question is, this surely indicates the Government (of the time) can or did make changes to laws retrospectively affecting the likes of SMW (in this case swinging the pendulum the other way – to those advocating here swinging the pendulum in the opposite direction by incarcerating SMW for longer). Have I understood this correctly? If so could this Sentencing Act of 2002 be changed for those sentenced prior to 2002 eg SMW (if that alleviates the concerns of weihana and co)?

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

    I think National should introduce legislation that would require 75% of MPs to vote for it to pass. I wonder if Labour would oppose it knowing what flak they would cop in the likely event of Wilson re-offending.

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

    Weihana, any citizen can be committed for treatment under the Mental Health acts. There is a procedure for that process to be initiated, an assessment made and a consequential order. Equivalent systems need to be put in place for dangerous criminals who are basically mental health cases.

    As I said, his previous crimes raise the flag but his present state determines the decision. So b.s. yourself.

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  118. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    $300,000 for that O_A and another $90,000 a year to keep the POS secure.

    We could train a lot of bright young minds for that sort of money.

    Not that Godzone is short of cash of course! :)

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  119. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Weihana, the nonsense never stops with you does it?

    “Put It Away, And how might someone vote in an election where the government arbitrarily imprisons that person? How reluctant will people be to vote against a government that has such power?”

    I don’t give a shit how the half dozen worst scumbags in New Zealand were planning to vote. I really don’t. The other 3, 999,994 people can vote who they like and they have no chance of being “Arbitrarily” imprisoned, due to the RATHER NARROW qualifications to be eligible for civil detention… you know, like 20 or 30 years history as an appalling violent sex offender who refuses all treatment and rehabilitation and who has every intention of reoffending. I mean, if that’s “Arbitary power”, it’s rather limited don’t you think? a single digit number of scumbags who chose to put themselves in that position.

    “But aside from that, the rule of law is more than the ability to vote them out. It is the concept that we are subject to laws, not the arbitrary rule of a supreme authority. If our supreme authority ignores judicial process and arbitrarily imprisons people then we are not subject to laws, we are subject to arbitrary power.”

    You just keep up the same bullshit nonstop, don’t you? How is the government passing a law that gives the COURT an OPTION to put these assholes away equal to “supreme authority ignores judicial process and arbitrarily imprisons people”. It’s the court that decides. Judicial process, you know? Same as any other law. Your constant dissembling is pathetic and ludicrous.

    I really doubt you seriously believe your bullshit is an honest argument, but you simply don’t have anything else.

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

    @Other_Andy:

    Wilson gets assessed by a panel of several psychiatrists and psychologists

    Funded by the state, who know full well that if they keep making recommendations the state doesn't like, they lose their cosy government appointment. As I said above, government needs to hund, at arms length, a barrister to represent the prisoner, who can then at his or her discretion hire independent expert witnesses to go up against the Crown's.

    On the basis of this recommendation the minister … The process is completely open and transparent.

    Except (in Australia at least) it’s not. The reports to which you refer are not made public, so we cannot draw an independent conclusion as to the validity of the recommendations. Often, the eventual recommendation (from the Parole / Prisoner Review Board) is not made public unless the Minister okays it. The Minister’s decision is made public but with only the vaguest of platitudinous reasons. There was a case last year in WA where it was fairly well known that the Board had recommended the release of a prisoner held “at the Governor’s pleasure” and the Attorney General, who wallows in being seen as tough on law and order and fancies himself the next Premier, ignored it.

    If a judge (or panel of judges), having heard expert evidence presented by advocates for the state and the prisoner, recommends release – or continued imprisonment, for that matter – then the last person to involve at that point is a headline-hungry pollie.

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  121. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    @Johnboy

    Of course you are right.
    In a perfect world…..
    Any money spend on that POS is a waste.
    But…
    We are not spending the money on this POS, we are spending the money protecting our democracy and the rule of law.
    Democracy isn’t cheap.

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  122. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson (1,104) Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Weihana, any citizen can be committed for treatment under the Mental Health acts. There is a procedure for that process to be initiated, an assessment made and a consequential order.

    Not really, only a citizen that has a mental disorder, defined as:

    “…an abnormal state of mind (whether of a continuous or an intermittent nature), characterised by delusions, or by disorders of mood or perception or volition or cognition, of such a degree that it—
    (a) poses a serious danger to the health or safety of that person or of others; or
    (b) seriously diminishes the capacity of that person to take care of himself or herself;—”

    Committing a mentally disordered person is not the same thing as a government enacting a law to change the outcome of the judicial process in one particular case.


    As I said, his previous crimes raise the flag…

    I think you actually said:


    “Weihana, this is not about what he did…”

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  123. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Excellent point niggly 9:05.

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  124. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Put it away,


    The other 3, 999,994 people can vote who they like and they have no chance of being “Arbitrarily” imprisoned…

    …because we trust that our leaders will never abuse their powers against the “good” people, only the “bad” people.

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  125. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    “Democracy isn’t cheap.”

    Would be a bloody sight cheaper if lawyers got payed what they were really worth O_A! :)

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

    Weihana, I said: “there is nothing wrong with protecting the public from a real and immediate current threat for which previous crimes are merely a warning signal.”

    I also reiterated I advocate for general legislation, not specific to this person. Actually, it is quite clear that this person does meet the criteria you quote.

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  127. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    Always happy for Engineers and Scientists to get a pay rise of course from the reduction in lawyers wages.

    Always believed in paying useful people a decent wage! :)

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  128. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Weihana 9:16 don’t be so pathetic. What he said was:

    “this is not about what he did or what the law was when he did it. It’s about what his condition is now and what he will do if he is freed. Your concern about retrospective legislation is irrelevant.

    Just as people can be committed under the Mental Health acts, there is nothing wrong with protecting the public from a real and immediate current threat for which previous crimes are merely a warning signal.”

    The meaning is clear, and there’s no point quibbling that he used two different phrases that mean the same thing “raise the flag” / “warning signal”. Once again, if the only argument you can muster is based on pretending not to understand simple English, then you have no argument.

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  129. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    niggly,


    My question is, if one wishes to be pure in the sense that when people are sentenced as the law stood at the time and not be subject to retrospective changes later in life, then would it be deemed wrong for the Government to instead amend legislation now to ensure SMW serves these additional 4 years meaning he serves his (original) 21 years?

    My next question is, this surely indicates the Government (of the time) can or did make changes to laws retrospectively affecting the likes of SMW (in this case swinging the pendulum the other way – to those advocating here swinging the pendulum in the opposite direction by incarcerating SMW for longer). Have I understood this correctly? If so could this Sentencing Act of 2002 be changed for those sentenced prior to 2002 eg SMW (if that alleviates the concerns of weihana and co)?

    The retrospective changes are bad because they remove impartiality by giving one side to the judicial process an advantage (i.e. the state). If the retrospective changes are in favour of the individual concerned then it can hardly be said to be an unfair process.

    As such asking whether the pre-2002 sentence can be reapplied is not relevant to what the government is trying to do here.

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  130. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Weihana, for the umpteenth time, the relevance of a “What if” argument is only as good as the likelihood of the “what if” being true. The likelihood of any government in new zealand putting people in jail for not voting for them is zero. Even if it wasn’t, this law would be no use to them, because it only gives power over those half dozen scumbags. And any government that would consider jailing people for voting against them is not going to remotely give a shit if there’s a law for it or not. And under a government that far gone, there would be no (legitimate) elections.

    Enough with the fantasies, do you have any argument connected in any way to reality and things that might actually happen in NZ?

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  131. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Pit it away,


    The meaning is clear

    The meaning is contradictory.

    It is about what he did and the government changing the outcome of the judicial process in retrospect. All attempts to deny it are disingenuous.

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  132. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Weihana – “The retrospective changes are bad because they remove impartiality by giving one side to the judicial process an advantage (i.e. the state). If the retrospective changes are in favour of the individual concerned then it can hardly be said to be an unfair process.”

    Which individual? There are two sides to the justice equation, remember. It’s certainly an unfair process to the victim(s) of the scumbag, and it’s unfair to the community that expected to be safe from the fuckwit for x number of years, and then a government retrospectively changes that. Sheer hypocrisy on your part to be fine with retrospective legislation as long as it cuddles crims.

    Again, where is the honest argument?

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  133. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Weihana it is not at all contradictory. You’re one of the most shamelessly dishonest people I’ve ever come across. You really don’t give a shit if your response is in any way connected to what the person said. Stop pretending not to understand it, and deal with his argument in an honest way.

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  134. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Put it away,


    Enough with the fantasies, do you have any argument connected in any way to reality and things that might actually happen in NZ?

    I think I pointed out earlier that I do not believe this is the first step towards creating a one-party state.

    “Weihana (1,804) Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    …Do I think we are verging on a one-party state? No, but likewise I don’t think we should be following their example and seeing where it takes us.”

    The simple point is that I don’t want a government changing the outcome of the judicial process mid-game. The idea that this cannot happen to any of us is naive in my view. We all go before the same system and if all the government needs to do to change the outcome of an unfavourable judicial decision is to change the law and get public support, then it would seem the prospects of a fair trial seem somewhat more distant.

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  135. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Put it away,


    Which individual? There are two sides to the justice equation, remember. It’s certainly an unfair process to the victim(s) of the scumbag…

    A basic misunderstanding. Victims are not a side in the judicial process. They are evidence.

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  136. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    I see we have passed the point where anything new is said…the inevitable fate of any thread I guess…

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  137. niggly (832 comments) says:

    Ok thanks Weihana:

    “The retrospective changes are bad because they remove impartiality by giving one side to the judicial process an advantage (i.e. the state). If the retrospective changes are in favour of the individual concerned then it can hardly be said to be an unfair process.”

    But that’s what happened hasn’t it, i.e. the Sentencing Act 2002 has given SMW a (retrospective) “advantage” by allowing him to be released early (than what was originally envisaged at the time of his sentencing)? If that’s the case then surely the SA2002 has favoured the likes of SMW. Have I got that right or not?

    Incidentally I do hear you in that you are concentrating on the latest retrospective proposal which could see one side (the state) having an advantage. Surely the answer then would be to allow the defendant to have access to processes themselves to ensure they can mount a defence (presumably with access to funding, which it appears others are advocating here too)?

    “As such asking whether the pre-2002 sentence can be reapplied is not relevant to what the government is trying to do here.”

    My point is, perhaps this could be a compromise if some people are feeling queasy about what the Govt is proposing.

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  138. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Put it away (2,723) Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Weihana it is not at all contradictory. You’re one of the most shamelessly dishonest people I’ve ever come across. You really don’t give a shit if your response is in any way connected to what the person said. Stop pretending not to understand it, and deal with his argument in an honest way.

    I understand what he is advocating. He is advocating the general case, not this specific case. I disagree. This action is all about one specific case and I also do not agree with the comparison to the mental health act. The mental health act is designed to deal with people who cannot appreciate reality and cannot control their actions. This is quite different from the government locking up people it thinks may commit crime.

    If I am not addressing his meaning then perhaps I truly don’t understand it. :)

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  139. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    “The simple point is that I don’t want a government changing the outcome of the judicial process mid-game.”

    Unless it’s in favour of the scumbags. And what niggly raised ACTUALLY IS a case of the government changing the outcome of the judicial process – judge sentences x years, government forces a change to two thirds x years. Clearly a case of the government over-riding the will of the judges. What is being proposed now does not change the outcome of the judicial process that put this guy away, it just gives the courts an OPTION of putting him away again because he’s still a fuckwit. More power to the court, not less. Up to the court if they use it. Rule of law, you know?

    “. We all go before the same system”

    Yes, but not many of us as lifelong violent rapists with no intention to stop when they get out. It’s not something I’ve ever worried about. Do you? Of course not. Stop pretending this affects the judicial process at large. If I go to court for a parking ticket, there is no fear and no possibility that the government going to sentence me to civil detention. The chance of me getting a fair trial on my parking ticket is in no way “more distant”. It has no effect whatsoever on anything except this very narrow range of fuckwits. You are being ridiculous and you have no argument relevant to reality.

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  140. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    niggly,


    But that’s what happened hasn’t it, i.e. the Sentencing Act 2002 has given SMW a (retrospective) “advantage” by allowing him to be released early (than what was originally envisaged at the time of his sentencing)?

    Yes but I’m hardly that concerned about an advantage given to the defendant/convict. The individual is not powerful, the state is, so of course I’m highly concerned about any hint of advantage given to the state. Their power is the most dangerous and the most capable of abuse and harm.


    My point is, perhaps this could be a compromise if some people are feeling queasy about what the Govt is proposing.

    I don’t think it would solve anything really. This man needs indefinite detention. It’s not like I want him to get out but I doubt keeping him in for a few more years would make any difference in terms of public safety. At least with parole he will be monitored which may minimize the risk somewhat.

    But as much as I think he needs to be kept in, I do not agree that the government should get to revisit the issue retrospectively.

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

    Weihana, clearly this man fits the criteria you specified. “Cannot appreciate reality” is not a requirement.

    “…an abnormal state of mind (whether of a continuous or an intermittent nature), characterised by disorders of mood or volition or cognition, of such a degree that it—
    (a) poses a serious danger to the health or safety of that person or of others;”

    is exactly him. And it does equate to the Government restraining people it believes very likely to harm others, thus protecting the community. As it should, properly and legally.

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  142. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Put it away,


    …not many of us as lifelong violent rapists with no intention to stop

    But who determines who is? A court following a process. If that process can be corrupted by the government then what confidence can we have in the integrity of the court’s determination that a person is, in fact, a violent rapist with no intention to stop? Again, that’s why the process is a game which needs to be fair because if it isn’t then the “facts” it gives us which we rely upon lose their integrity.

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

    Heh, apologies for a slight threadjack (though as David Garrett says, it seems to be getting repetitive in any case) but I just came across this in the midst of my researches.

    The Eighth International Conference on Penal Abolition was held from 18-21 February 1997 in Auckland. One of the papers presented had this title:

    “I Hate Prisons. They are an Anachronism of Our Society. They Destroy Lives and They Impact Negatively Upon Us All”.

    Guess who wrote it, but was pictured only a few years later happily scarfing down prison tucker as he defended the system to curry favour with his masters?

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  144. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson (1,106) Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Weihana, clearly this man fits the criteria you specified. “Cannot appreciate reality” is not a requirement.

    “…an abnormal state of mind (whether of a continuous or an intermittent nature), characterised by disorders of mood or volition or cognition, of such a degree that it—
    (a) poses a serious danger to the health or safety of that person or of others;”

    is exactly him. And it does equate to the Government restraining

    I wasn’t aware that Wilson had a disorder of mood, volition or cognition. Correct me if I’m wrong. I understand he has a disorder of sexual attraction. It seems to me the criteria is stricter than simply a mental disorder and a serious danger to the public. The disorder must be of mood, volition or cognition causing the public danger.

    In any case, any application under the mental health act would surely be viewed with suspicion given not only the public debate, but the fact that the request is made upon his release. Why not earlier? Surely this is why the government proposes a modification to the law because he doesn’t fit the criteria.

    Seems to me Wilson is a danger because he is evil, not because he is mentally disturbed. I don’t think the mental health act was designed to incarcerate people who choose to commit crime. It is designed to treat people who suffer a condition such that they cannot control themselves and therefore do not have the mens rea for any of their actions.

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  145. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    David Garrett (1,354) Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I see we have passed the point where anything new is said…the inevitable fate of any thread I guess…

    True… maybe the Nazi analogy hastened the process :)

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  146. niggly (832 comments) says:

    Ok thanks again Weihana:

    “Yes but I’m hardly that concerned about an advantage given to the defendant/convict. ”

    Ummm …. I’m thinking of SMW specifically (not defendants in general), I would be concerned that his advantage is that he will be released 4 years earlier now (thanks to SA2002), without any remorse nor willing to attend any rehabilitation courses.

    “The individual is not powerful, the state is, so of course I’m highly concerned about any hint of advantage given to the state. Their power is the most dangerous and the most capable of abuse and harm.”

    Whilst I agree in a general sense the “state” is powerful, I also observe in NZ the state is not actually that powerful, it tends to make mistakes (eg Terrorism Suppression Act and the activists for example) and it tends to get challenged (or people protest in the streets or climb ships in NP harbour protesting the oil giants and these people generally get away with it). In NZ harm from the state is rather miniscule IMO. Even the SIS are the butt of activist jokes etc.

    “I don’t think it would solve anything really. This man needs indefinite detention. It’s not like I want him to get out but I doubt keeping him in for a few more years would make any difference in terms of public safety. At least with parole he will be monitored which may minimize the risk somewhat.”

    Ok, I sorta knew you weren’t a SMW supporter & prefer he not get out but instead concerned about the power of the state, but keeping him in away from the general public will ensure public safety – surely! As for Parole monitoring well look at the likes of Burton and his poor parole monitoring. If “crims” want to evade their parole officers then they will dream up something.

    That said, I feel SMW will be under alot of scrutiny when released (including from the public and neighbourhood watches etc) so may find it hard to get away with such elaborate reoffending from now on. But I’m no fool and he will still be bidding his time to take an opportunity that presents itself, and I would suggest even just one or two women could fall victim to him (and when/if done the law will come down on him) but as a father of a young girl, to me any one or two further victims is one or two too many and the harm done to these next victims are not worth it as a society.

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  147. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Weihana “A court following a process. ”

    Yes, the process that is going to be established with this law.

    “If that process can be corrupted by the government ”

    Giving the court power can in no rational way be described as ‘corrupted by the government’.

    “then what confidence can we have in the integrity of the court’s determination”

    If you think a court’s determination has questionable integrity because the government granted that court the power to make that determination, then you must object to ALL determinations that courts make, because their power to determine was ALL granted by the government at some stage, unless it’s some ancient common law about stealing pigs on St. Swithin’s day or something.

    Stop pretending this is anything other than rule of law. Govt passes law, judicial procedure carries out the law. They are under no more pressure than any other law, the court decides how to use the power in its own way.

    Garret is right, listening to you repeating the same dissembling bullshit over and over again is pretty much pointless. It’s as pointless as when phool came out of the closet as a Truther the other day. No interest in making sense or relating to reality.

    Time for bed I think.

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  148. Scott Chris (6,178 comments) says:

    Prepare and pass the Stewart Murray Wilson detention law.

    Same idea occurred to me. Problem is though, that it still sets a precedent of sorts – that of creating individually tailored laws.

    Perhaps another solution would be to legally define what constitutes a ‘clear and present’ threat to society and empower government to intervene under such circumstances. If a line is drawn, then presumably there can be no slippery slope.

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  149. Sideoiler (74 comments) says:

    Weihana 5.15pm says
    “Your problem is that, while you fear your neighbours, you don’t fear your government. You’re a prime example of how a desire for absolute safety has people all too willing to sell their civil rights for the illusion of security”
    Well said Sir/Madam

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  150. niggly (832 comments) says:

    When I first saw this thread I thought well this is easy, SMW is the lowest of scum and as we cannot (as a society) put a bullet in his head (damn it) then Judith Collins proposal should suffice. But I took the time to read the comments of those advocating not changing the law retrospectively and their concerns. I do think their concerns have some merit.

    But after going off to do some chores and thinking about it …. I’m supportive of the views of Put It Away etc.

    Who cares about purity of the law I say. As they say the law is an ass, and look at who makes the laws – the politicians. Look who interprets the law, the judges (they have their political/social biases). Look at who advocates for and against the prosecution and defendents – lawyers (the problem here is that lawyers are not bound by seeking the truth, it’s getting one over the opposing lawyer to get their client off etc).

    I think NWA should have sang, some 20 years ago, not F**k the Police, but F**k the Law.

    Whilst I’m unclear whether National’s proposal is the right thing or not (as David Garrett said, let’s reserve decisions until it is better understood), something needs to be done to keep SMW in jail until he admits wrong doing and rehabilitates himself. If he continues to not do so, then stuff him, let him rot in there for eternity (there are 70 yo sexual deviants still locked up – what’s the difference).

    If it means retrospective legislation, assuming it is done well and not rushed then I wouldn’t be unhappy.

    After all this is NZ, we’ve had the rule of law since when, 1840? Why would this new legislation now lead to a totalitarian state now after some 170 years? It wouldn’t of course. That’s tin foil hat/ anti Govt types/ Green Party paranoid bullshit thinking. NZ Pollies aren’t totalitarian enough to go down that path, it’s not in our genes. Why would they change now all of a sudden. Won’t happen (and as others have pointed out, if it were to happen they would simply do it without regard to law changes). But wont happen, period.

    Another niggle I have is dysfunctional people (SMW) causing normal people to experience dysfunction (his victims, as mentioned in Bernadette Courtney’s piece). It’s a unbearable cost on society, the victims become so badly affected they resort to drugs, distrust and no doubt suicide. Sorry it’s not worth imposing SMW’s dysfunction on society and as we cannot simply do society (and SMW a favour himself) by putting his miserable disgusting life out of existance, all we can do is keep him away from society, indefinitely, unless he wishes to change. People don’t usually change though, so my mind’s made up.

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  151. Bogusnews (414 comments) says:

    When I was doing my management degree (a long time ago), one pearl of wisdom really struck me. We were studying companies that decay and if we could determine any common root causes. One classic came through. They said, ” the last act of a dying organisation is to bring out a new and expanded rule book.” In other words, the efficiency of following the rules becomes more important than the effectiveness of the rules in achieving company objectives.

    I think Wilson must never, ever be released. Yes it will mean the rules (laws) have to be changed in this case, but I want to look at the effectiveness of the rules in keeping people safe, that after all is why we have them. In this case, Wilson should clearly have been sentenced to jail forever (a cumulative rather than consecutive sentence would have done that) but the judge for whatever reason decided not to. The judge erred without doubt, so now we have to put it right.

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  152. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    BogusNews: Sadly if the Judge had done that – and he/she may well have been sorely tempted – the sentence would certainly have been overturned on appeal. THAT is the system we as a society have allowed to evolve as we have become more and more timid about dealing with the bad the very bad, and the truly evil members of our society.

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  153. mikenmild (12,446 comments) says:

    Re the cumulative sentences – I don’t think that option is/was available in these circumstances. The individual judge could not really be criticised for this and, after all, a very lengthy prison term was imposed.
    Whatever the length of sentence, there are always gong to be individuals whose eventual release is problematic. Preventive detention is one solution; extended supervision or improved parole provisions are others.

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  154. RRM (10,104 comments) says:

    Well this leftie thinks we should do it….

    I only hope the people making the decisions about who is “certainly going to offend again” are very good at their job, and make no mistakes.

    If that job falls to High Court Judges, I would have no problem with it. If the job falls to Social Workers, I would be very concerned…

    Would civil detention orders apply to remorseless, repeat fraudsters and con men too?

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  155. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    Mikey: Unless you know something I don’t (which is of course quite possible!) Cumulative sentences are always an option for a sentencing judge….just very rarely used, mainly for the reason I have outlined.

    RRM: Well said, both re Judges and repeat fraudsters such as one Rod Petrecivic

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  156. mikenmild (12,446 comments) says:

    David – I think there is some kind of rule about cumulative sentences where they are not used for similar crimes, but that the judge looks at the totality of the offending in producing a final sentence. Perhaps one of the resident legal experts could clarify.
    RRM – so you are already looking to broaden the parameters of these detention orders?

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  157. nasska (12,111 comments) says:

    David Garrett

    The non use of cumulative sentences has me puzzled. If someone is found guilty of committing a crime once a year for four years he will get a sentence of “X” each time plus a probable add on for constant reoffending. If he is caught only after the fourth crime he will only be sentenced for the worst one. He is effectively unpunished for the other three.

    How did this come about? Was it an initiative to reward smart criminals who evade detection for a longer period of time or just the natural reaction of the crim cuddlers who infest the justice system?

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  158. RRM (10,104 comments) says:

    Mikenmild – yes I think there has to be consistency in justice.

    If it’s good enough for rapists, murderers and basically repulsive Orcs that we gentle folk can easily distance ourself from emotionally, then it should apply to good-looking and well-spoken white collar criminals who rape people’s livelihoods for their own pleasure also.

    I want a justice system that gives people a chance to reform themselves, (reformation isn’t something that anyone can do TO you, you have to make it happen for yourself) and then throws the really rotten apples on some scrapheap for ever.

    Given the facility for appeals, pardons and reviews that we have I don’t think it’s unreasonable to detain people “indefinitely” where past guilt has been proven and an ongoing risk to the public seems evident. It’s only ever as “indefinite” as the next review, you are not talking about bricking over the door of the cell.

    It is simply delusional to pretend that with enough hugs we can “fix” anybody, the numerous counter-examples speak for themselves.

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  159. nasska (12,111 comments) says:

    RRM

    Sadly, when your fellow leftists catch up with you, your fate will be sealed. You will be publicly mocked for your reactionary opinions. This will be followed by a gentle application of tar & feathers before you are despatched to the salt mines on a rail.

    By this the socialists will prove to themselves that by forgiveness, understanding & retrospective breast feeding, miscreants such as Wilson can lead useful fulfilling lives in our midst.

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  160. Nostalgia-NZ (5,323 comments) says:

    I’m happy to get egg on my face. First of all I think the extended Supervision Order will prevail. Secondly, it would be extremely interesting the wording of any retrospective legislation passed for this case in particular. I think it has two major hurdles beyond any debate about whether is warranted or not 1: asking the Courts to re-sentence an offender when they’ve served their time. 2: asking the Courts to ignore the principle that an offender first of all must know that he or she are committing an offence and in theory know the consequences. I don’t think the Courts will go for it, not least for the reason that Wilson was aware of the a situation whereby he would not get parole unless he admitted his offending and took particular programmes to lessen his risk of re-offending. That was his choice, the result being that’s he serves a lot longer in prison. But he never knew that his ‘punishment’ would go beyond not gaining parole but indeed become another sentence.

    Because some of the ‘heat’ has gone from the debate by recognising the issue of Wilson and retrospective legislation is not a defence of him, some might like to consider the punished twice issue, with the 2nd set of sanctions having only appeared in the future and coming with no warning, and no possible chance of avoidance because they’re virtually an ambush.

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  161. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    Nasska: Since my only role in the criminal courts has been as a defendant – to my shame and embarrassment – I don’t know how what is known as the “totality principle” came about. I do know that the Sentencing Act requires judges to give “the least restrictive sentence possible” in the circumstances, but unless I have missed something in it, it does not proscribe or prevent Judges from imposing sentences cumulatively.

    This is one for FES and Graeme E I think…or Weihana, who I have come to suspect is a criminal defence lawyer.

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  162. nasska (12,111 comments) says:

    David Garrett

    Thanks…..hopefully sometime, someone “in the know” will enlighten us. If cumulative sentencing had been used in Wilson’s case we wouldn’t now be worrying about how to address the problem he poses.

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  163. Vinick (218 comments) says:

    Can I ask a really simple (and stupid) question of our resident lawyers?

    [i’m sure it’s been mentioned above, but to read 160+ comments will make my eyes bleed]

    Wilson was sentenced to 21 years. He’s served 16 years. I understand that in NZ law there is essentially an expectation that a prisoner will serve up to two thirds of their sentence. I understand the rationale for that. But, is there honestly no provision in the law for keeping someone in prison for their full term? Why is the parole board obligated to release him, when they themselves have said he is a high risk of reoffending?

    If there is provision to keep him in prison for his full term (another five years) why are we having this discussion now?

    Am particularly interested in the thoughts of Edgeler, Garrett and AG.

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  164. RRM (10,104 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ:

    To a layman like me I would not have thought there is any issue of a second punishment applied later by ambush, PROVIDED:

    (1) There is some robust process for deciding who is to be so detained, and

    (2) It becomes widely known in NZ that there is always the possibility of an unreformed, repeat serious offender being indefinitely detained, and

    (3) At sentencing the Judge points out to the convict that there is the possibility of indefinite detention, should he not be seen to be mending his ways.

    If we have all those 3 things, then the social contract between citizen and state would be just the way it is now wouldn’t it? (I.e.; if you do XXX crime you’ll do YYY time?)

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

    Cops’ new tool to predict domestic violence

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10799973

    I think there is a parallel here. The 11 year old burglar who was in the news recently was removed from his parents because of spousal violence. There was not violence against children. The rational was based on the probability of there may be future violence against him.

    I do not know the level violence in this case but I do know there are many cases of children being removed from parents based on police or social workers accessing the probability of violence or sexual abuse. Both these organisations have shown many times how often they get it wrong both ways. A couple of days ago on Close Up there was a case of the police doing nothing about an HIV+ convicted paedophile living in the same house as young children.

    It would be nice if those who are concerned about the human rights of sub humans show as much concern about good but non perfect parents and innocent children.

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  166. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    Vinick: The short answer is NO. The Sentencing Act provides that a prisoner’s final release date is 2/3 of their sentence. There was a Labour proposal to extend that, but it came with a huge fishook, the establishment of a so -called “Sentencing Council ” the purpose of which was to reduce sentences still further.

    Andrew Geddis probably knows most about the Labour government proposal that never went ahead. He will no doubt have a different view of the Sentencing Council from mine. He is of course a very important and busy man, and might not have time to respond to you.

    I do not know why the Nats never put through their own amending legislation which provided for “full terms” in appropriate cases without the Sentencing Council. I suspect it was simply a crowded legislative calendar. The Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill – aka “three strikes”, but it contained more than that – was the major piece of criminal law reform of the last government.

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  167. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    If there is provision to keep him in prison for his full term (another five years) why are we having this discussion now?

    There is a provision now. It doesn’t apply to Wilson because he was sentenced so long ago. When Wilson was sentenced, a 21 year sentence meant you would serve at most ~16 years before automatic release. You might think this undermines the sentence of the judge, but in reality it doesn’t – the judge knew when he was sentencing Wilson that that was exactly what it meant. Everyone knew that, including any victim who asked. If we were to apply the new law retrospectively, we would be increasing the sentence after the crime, which we don’t do.

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  168. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    The Sentencing Act provides that a prisoner’s final release date is 2/3 of their sentence.

    1. No, it doesn’t.

    2. The final release date provisions of the Parole Act apply to old sentences (before the Parole Act commenced).

    3. Prisoners detained for sentences imposed after the Parole Act entered into force can be detained for the full term of their sentence.

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  169. Nostalgia-NZ (5,323 comments) says:

    RRM
    9.49

    That’s how I see it, probably the reason for opinions that it would breach the Bill of Rights.
    I was thinking about objections to hidden speed cameras and red light cameras, of course we know they are there or could be there – probably the absolute least warning, but a warning nevertheless with a social benefit outcome.

    On the who is detained and the conditions for parole or release, such considerations have a big possible advantage for society and a good prospect of escaping some of the financial burden as well.

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  170. adze (2,130 comments) says:

    “I think NWA should have sang, some 20 years ago, not F**k the Police, but F**k the Law”

    The Prodigy did that variation with Their Law. :)

    Interesting thread.

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

    The followings are not directly related to this post but here are some theoretical toy models that may be useful readings to legal experts on this thread.

    #1) Crime and punishment: the economic burden of impunity (freely available)

    #2) Crime and punishment: Does it pay to punish? (for academic access only because it is a subscribed journal)

    I do get access to ref #2.

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  172. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    There was a Labour proposal to extend that, but it came with a huge fishook, the establishment of a so -called “Sentencing Council ” the purpose of which was to reduce sentences still further.

    It wasn’t just their proposal. Parliament actually passed the the law and it was brought it into force by order in council. The Sentencing Council is the law.

    I would note that the major purpose of it was to leave prison terms at their current length, but rejigging nominal sentences to match. If someone who gets a 1 year prison term is out after 6 months, the sentencing council would say “such a prison term should be called six months”. Looking at the judge-ordered sentence it would seem it had halved, but the reality would have been that instead of serving six months, the person would have served six months.

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

    Weihana: “I wasn’t aware that Wilson had a disorder of mood, volition or cognition. Correct me if I’m wrong. I understand he has a disorder of sexual attraction. It seems to me the criteria is stricter than simply a mental disorder and a serious danger to the public.”

    Sexual volition coupled with cognitive dysfunction regarding empathy with his victims is clearly the issue. Since sex offenders are rehabilitated via psychological treatment there can be no question it is a mental disorder as per the legislation.

    “any application under the mental health act would surely be viewed with suspicion given not only the public debate, but the fact that the request is made upon his release.”

    Why? The “serious danger to the public” is only realised once he is released.

    It seems to me this whole controversy is based on the inability of your side to distinguish punishment from community protection. The sentence is a punishment and rightly is based on the law at the time the crime was committed. Once it expires then the further issue to be dealt with is protection of the public. That is an entirely separate issue and must be dealt with separately, responsibly and with regard to the circumstances at the time the offender is due to be released.

    You are straining at a gnat.

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  174. AG (1,834 comments) says:

    The Sentencing Act says this about cumulative/concurrent sentences: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2002/0009/latest/DLM136447.html?search=sw_096be8ed808212e2_cumulative_25&p=1

    And while I don’t know/can’t find the full details of Wilson’s sentence, there must have been some element of cumulative sentencing involved. The “worst” offence he was convicted of – rape – only had the maximum sentence increased from 14 to 20 years in 1993. So given he got 21 years, the judge has to have added the sentences for at least some of his crimes together.

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

    @nasska:

    The non use of cumulative sentences has me puzzled. If someone is found guilty of committing a crime once a year for four years he will get a sentence of “X” each time plus a probable add on for constant reoffending. If he is caught only after the fourth crime he will only be sentenced for the worst one.

    If only it were that simple, as at least when the defendant asks “what am I likely to get?” there’d be a chance of them getting a straight answer (in your examples, 4 x X vs X (not that that is fair or equitable)).

    But some degree of predictability would enable a lot of people to decide whether they in fact wanted to just plead guilty and get it over with – often they’ll fight because they’re scared of the length of the sentence, costing taxpayers money and clogging the courts.

    Having said that, I’m against anything that removes judicial discretion because inevitably it gets placed in the hands of politicians looking for a soundbite. The answer lies, I think, in having judges climb down off their pedestals and explain to us dimwitted ordinary folk how and why they do what they do.

    To its credit, the NSW Judicial Commission has had a go at explaining the totality principle. I’m sure most people who visit here could understand that document, but most people here won’t appear before the courts for doing something stupid (as opposed to evil, who aren’t deterred by sentences no matter how long they may be).

    The government can produce simple (even cartoon-like) pamphlets explaining people’s rights; it needs to have a team of people experienced in legal matters and communication sit down and devise similar ones about responsibilities – and the consequences of not meeting them.

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  176. nasska (12,111 comments) says:

    AG

    Thanks for the link…it shed a little light. Like you I can find no report of the Judge’s sentencing comments.

    Rex

    I waded through the NSW document……a reasonable precis would be, “it’s up to the Judge & his discretion”. As such everything seems to be bound up in precedent & consequently a layman is going to struggle to find much of use. Law & justice are not necessarily bedfellows & the complexity doesn’t invite respect from the general public whichever end of the system they are on.

    ….“A sentencing court must, however, take care when applying the totality principle. Public confidence in the administration of justice requires the Court to avoid any suggestion that what is in effect being offered is some kind of a discount for multiple offending:”…..

    In practise this is exactly the way a layman would interpret the vast majority of sentences imposed for multiple offences. Indeed, I would suggest that in NZ at present cumulative sentencing would be the norm rather than the exception. The difference in the sentence imposed for one charge of burglary (for example) doesn’t seem to differ greatly from that for fifty.

    I agree totally with the contents of your last paragraph. If the judiciary are not prepared to share their accumulated wisdom with the plebs then maybe it is time for some other approach to explain what exactly goes on. Then we might respect the system rather than seeing justice as the legal equivalent of Saturday night’s lotto draw.

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  177. BlairM (2,340 comments) says:

    Well if New Zealand had sentences which fit the crimes, the ape creature would never be up for release. Now that it is, undermining 700 years of jurisprudence should not be seen as an appropriate solution.

    I think a few flyers and posters around its neighbourhood would be plenty of warning to anyone the creature approaches to get the hell away.

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  178. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    David Garrett,


    This is one for FES and Graeme E I think…or Weihana, who I have come to suspect is a criminal defence lawyer.

    I’m not a lawyer, just a wannabe. :)

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  179. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson (1,109) Says:
    April 19th, 2012 at 10:42 am


    Sexual volition coupled with cognitive dysfunction regarding empathy with his victims is clearly the issue. Since sex offenders are rehabilitated via psychological treatment there can be no question it is a mental disorder as per the legislation.

    But does he have a disorder of volition? That he is a rapist doesn’t mean he couldn’t stop himself. He chose to do what he did and to me that makes him an ordinary criminal not someone who can’t control themselves because of a mental disorder.

    Also I do not think that paedophilia is a cognitive dysfunction, it is a dysfunction of sexual attraction. Cognition is to do with conscious mental processes, sexual attraction is innate. Such sexual dysfunction is a social dysfunction because it causes harm to other people if acted upon. Wikipedia describes cognition as:

    “In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, memory, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions.”

    It does not appear to me that desire, and sexual desire in particular, has much or anything to do with cognition.

    Don’t get me wrong, if he’s committed under the mental health act I’m not going to shed any tears, and it’s certainly better than retrospective sentencing, but honestly I don’t think he fits the criteria for the mental health act, though I concede that’s my layman’s opinion.


    “any application under the mental health act would surely be viewed with suspicion given not only the public debate, but the fact that the request is made upon his release.”

    Why? The “serious danger to the public” is only realised once he is released.

    Ok, point taken.


    It seems to me this whole controversy is based on the inability of your side to distinguish punishment from community protection. The sentence is a punishment and rightly is based on the law at the time the crime was committed. Once it expires then the further issue to be dealt with is protection of the public. That is an entirely separate issue and must be dealt with separately, responsibly and with regard to the circumstances at the time the offender is due to be released.

    The problem is that the protection of the public is not really a further issue. It’s intrinsically linked to the original crime and so while we may say it’s a separate issue, the reality is that it’s retrospective sentencing. And this is what I don’t like about it. It’s wrong in principle no matter how reasonable it seems in this one particular case.

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  180. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    PIA,


    If you think a court’s determination has questionable integrity because the government granted that court the power to make that determination…

    It’s not about Parliament giving the courts power, it’s about the government changing the rules in the middle of the game. The criminal process is a game between two sides: the individual and the state. The role of the court is to act as an impartial judge of the law so that the state does not abuse its power. If the state can change the judge’s decision by changing the rules in the middle of the game then that removes the court’s impartiality.

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

    Volition (psychology), the cognitive process by which an individual decides on and commits to a particular course of action

    Clearly this person has a major dysfunction of volition. That is his sexual issue. On top of that he has a problem with cognition in that he lacks empathy with his victims as well. Clearly he has major mental health problems which he is unable to control.

    The problem is that the protection of the public is not really a further issue.

    Of course it is. It arises as soon as he is eligible for release. Is he safe now or not? That the public may be whipped into a moral panic due to his history is not relevant to a rational, legal/medical decision on his current state.

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  182. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    niggly,


    In NZ harm from the state is rather miniscule IMO.

    Depends on one’s point of view I suppose. If you are the person coming before the justice system then it probably changes one’s perception of whether the state has great power to inflict harm on a person.

    For any crime it is usually the case that very few people have first hand knowledge of it. So when we conclude that someone like Wilson is actually a criminal and in need of punishment/treatment we base this conclusion on the integrity of the process that found him so. My concern is that if we start whittling away the standards to which we expect the state to hold itself to based on the needs of one case then we begin to undermine the integrity and reliability of that process, the very thing which gives us confidence in declaring a person guilty and in need of punishment/treatment. If the state can change the rules in the middle of the game then the result of the legal process reflects the arbitrary power of the state more than the impartial application of law as it was at the time the offending occurred.

    People seem to think it’s okay if we do it in just this one case, but if we do it in just one case that just demonstrates that we’re making an exception and the state is exercising arbitrary powers to detain a person rather than the courts enforcing the law as it was at the relevant time. For the law to have meaning we must be able to know what it is at any particular time. If you apply laws retrospectively then people have no way of knowing what the law really is and thus we end up with a system ruled by men rather than laws.

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  183. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson (1,111) Says:
    April 20th, 2012 at 11:58 am


    Clearly this person has a major dysfunction of volition. That is his sexual issue.

    I’m not sure how he has a dysfunction of volition. Doing bad things doesn’t imply that one has a dysfunction of volition. A dysfunction of volition, as I understand it, is an inability to control your actions. Doing bad things does not imply you are unable to do good things. It can just as easily mean that you CHOOSE to do bad things. Choosing to do a bad thing is not an inability to control oneself.


    On top of that he has a problem with cognition in that he lacks empathy with his victims as well. Clearly he has major mental health problems which he is unable to control.

    From my Wikipedia research :) I’m not sure a lack of empathy constitutes a cognitive disorder. It would seem to be an affective disorder, though the highlighted portion below says some view affective as also cognitive.


    Affect refers to the experience of feeling or emotion.[1] Affect is a key part of the process of an organism’s interaction with stimuli. The word also refers sometimes to affect display, which is “a facial, vocal, or gestural behavior that serves as an indicator of affect” (APA 2006).

    The affective domain represents one of the three divisions described in modern psychology: the cognitive, the conative, and the affective. Classically, these divisions have also been referred to as the “ABC of psychology”, in that case using the terms “affect”, “behavior”, and “cognition”. In certain views, the conative may be considered as a part of the affective,[2] or the affective as a part of the cognitive.[3]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affect_%28psychology%29

    Also, his dysfunctional sexual attraction would constitute a conative disorder, not a cognitive disorder. Conation is defined as: “the area of one’s active mentality that has to do with desire, volition, and striving”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conation

    Though perhaps since desire and volition supposedly come under the same domain in psychology then perhaps a disorder of each kind could be equated, though the law does not mention disorder of desire.

    The problem for me is that it seems that the logical purpose of the Mental Health Act is to force treatment upon people who would lack the mens rea for any criminal act they did as a consequence of a mental disorder. A disorder of desire or feeling does not seem to me to diminish one’s mens rea since they have the choice to not act on their desires or feelings, whereas a disorder of volition means a person cannot control themselves and a disorder of cognition means one does not know what they are doing. Seems to me Wilson can control himself and knows what he is doing, he simply chooses to do that which is wrong.


    “The problem is that the protection of the public is not really a further issue.”

    Of course it is. It arises as soon as he is eligible for release. Is he safe now or not? That the public may be whipped into a moral panic due to his history is not relevant to a rational, legal/medical decision on his current state.

    I do not agree that you can separate the issues given the latter only arises as a consequence of the former.

    Anyway as fun as pretending to be a psychologist is I’ve just had surgery and shouldn’t be typing. :) Suffice to say I hope you are right. Personally I just believe he is a bad person in full control of his conscious thoughts and actions. However I suppose I am somewhat ambivalent and if he can be held under the mental health act then that’s good for us.

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

    The problem for me is that it seems that the logical purpose of the Mental Health Act is to force treatment upon people who would lack the mens rea for any criminal act they did as a consequence of a mental disorder.

    No such requirement exists in the Act. The test is likelihood of risk to others.

    I have seen up close the damage this sick man has done to his own family and the many victims who were scattered across the country and wider

    There is no doubt that many criminals have mental health issues even when they are judged fit to plead. That is why so many prison psychologists are employed. Clearly those psychologists are of the opinion this man has not been cured and remains a serious danger. Detention under the Mental Health Act is the appropriate response.

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  185. njac01 (1 comment) says:

    This is absurd. The man is convicted of multiple offences against women, offences against children and bestiality. Learned psychologists say he shows now remorse and is highly likely to offend again. To suggest changing the law to stop someone like this offending again will turn us in to a Stalinist state is is ridiculous. The man doesn’t deserve to be released. End of story.

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