Restorative justice at work

January 20th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Tony Wall at the SST reports:

The Jewish community has taken pity on one of the youths who desecrated graves at a cemetery in Auckland with Nazi symbols – causing worldwide outrage – and is even offering to pay his university tuition fees so he can turn his life around.

Robert Moulden, 19, pleaded guilty to a charge of intentional damage in the Auckland District Court last year and will be sentenced next month. His co-accused, Christian Landmark, 20, has pleaded not guilty and appears in court again on Tuesday.

More than a dozen headstones in the Jewish quarter of the Symonds St Cemetery were vandalised with images of swastikas and expletive-ridden anti-Israeli messages on October 19. It is proving incredibly difficult to remove paint from the porous headstones, which date back to the 19th century, and the repair job could cost as much as $50,000.

Moulden is a beneficiary, lives in a hostel in central Auckland, and says he has no family support. He has gone through a restorative justice programme with members of the Jewish community, has been taught about the Holocaust and has even gone to one member’s house for a Friday night Shabbat dinner.

The chairman of the Jewish Council of New Zealand, Geoff Levy, confirmed that during a restorative justice meeting offers were made to pay for Moulden to attend engineering courses at AUT University.

“When we asked him what he wanted to do with himself he expressed a desire to follow engineering if he could,” Levy said. “We’ve given this young man a chance to respond to the offers, and we’ve appointed someone to liaise with him to see whether he can be helped, or wants to be helped.

“He’s going to have to want to do something himself. If we can help him, we’re happy to do that. But it’s got to be consistent with realising the damage he’s done, paying the price that society demands of him and making sure it will not happen again.

“Hopefully we can provide him with support, mentoring and assistance in getting an education, so that he will be able to make the best decisions next time when faced with a choice.”

If this occurs, that is an excellent outcome.

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12 Responses to “Restorative justice at work”

  1. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    A lesson in grace and forgiveness. Well done to whoever has offered to fund this idiot’s education.

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  2. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    This is *extremely generous* and forgiving of the Jewish community.
    Truly wonderful to see.

    I tell you what sickens me is to hear of an upsurge in anti-Semitism in Norway. Some is from Muslim immigrants, but there is a lot even from the locals there. Such people should **hang their heads in shame** (but they won’t).

    NO single group of people has given MORE to humanity than the Jews have. Look at the *dozens and dozens* of Nobel prizes awarded to Jewish people.

    NO single group of people has been more UNJUSTLY and *mercilessly* treated than the Jews. Humanity should *always remember that*.

    An alien arriving on the earth, finding out about the massive contribution to humanity by Jews (and their **utterly shameful** treatment over the centuries) would conclude that humanity is completely insane.

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  3. TimG_Oz (862 comments) says:

    This is a move I support, and an extremely generous one.

    Now it would be great to extend the offer to the members of Socialist Aotearoa who organised the “counter protest” if they also renounce their anti semitism ;-)

    I’d suggest they’d be less likely to take it up though

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  4. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    The Jewish community have taken the only action that could conceivably have altered this idiot’s view of Jews and Judaism; a prison term or other punitive measure would have played to his no doubt conspiracy-laden world view.

    Rather than create someone whose intolerance is ingrained and who may well have offended more seriously in future, the community may well be creating one of its staunchest supporters, with the added benefit to the rest of us that he’ll be self-supporting.

    Congratulations to them for seeing past their justified hurt and outrage to the potential for restorative justice to produce outcomes that are positive for everyone.

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  5. Keeping Stock (10,339 comments) says:

    I wonder what John Minto thinks of this. It certainly makes far more sense than bullying Israeli tennis players…

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  6. Sam Buchanan (501 comments) says:

    Good move. From what I’ve seen there are only a handful of ingrained anti-semites and fascist sympathisers in New Zealand – most of these sort of attacks are carried out by people with few deeply held beliefs, a lot of bravado and limited knowledge. It’s easy for the few leaders to scoop them up and encourage them to go out and do offensive things (and they are then disowned by those same leaders), but they seldom hang on to these beliefs once they get a bit older and find some direction.

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  7. Manolo (13,765 comments) says:

    His co-accused, Christian Landmark, 20…

    Supreme irony with a name like his.

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  8. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    @Keeping Stock – “I wonder what John Minto thinks of this.”
    Yeah. The fool should be forced to work on a kibbutz for a couple of weeks.
    It’d be the first work he’s ever done.

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  9. mavxp (483 comments) says:

    Bravo to the leaders of the Jewish community in Auckland.

    He is still young and impressionable – with a brain yet to fully develop the ability to understand others points of view*. So, while difficult, there is definitely hope for restorative justice to work in his case. He will need positive support and the right environment to turn his life around – and the will himself. Well worth trying.

    *http://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_jayne_blakemore_the_mysterious_workings_of_the_adolescent_brain.html

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  10. Lance (2,655 comments) says:

    @thor42
    The shock would be too much. He would be surrounded by evil Joo’s, but he would find them reasonable- nice even, they would tell him the Kibbutzim is communism in action and that he would have to work, and work hard. John thinks communism in action is budging and protesting.
    As I said, the shock would be too much.

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  11. paul henry (49 comments) says:

    Interesting to note he says he has no family support. Nigel Latta’s show Darklands psychologically profiled that Nazi from Nelson who murdered the Korean hitchhiker – similar set up – no family support, no job, huge swastika on his chest, Latta described how these types find identity in having a common perceived enemy.

    I suspect this guy has no clue whatsoever about the Jewish people’s history, culture, values but someone he viewed as a father-figure told him jews were bad and next thing he’s out desecrating gravestones.

    Will be a shock for him now to find the jewish community is the closest thing to family support he has.

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  12. pq (728 comments) says:

    bullshit, why do we have to give this little thug our money; not me I wouldn’t, why do we pay him to desecrate our people, I would have sent him down to clean the stones and then some, give me a gun, I will watch over the wretch, weapons work,

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