Not convinced

March 6th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Press editorial:

The decision of a not to hold an inquest into the suicide of a New Zealand soldier in Afghanistan is beginning to look unfortunate.

While it is not unusual for coroners to decide not to conduct inquests into deaths that have already been subject to a well-run and thorough investigation, this decision appears not to satisfy members of the dead man’s family that the circumstances of their relative’s death have been adequately dealt with. A coroner, having decided not to hold an inquest, is entitled to change his or her mind.

The solicitor-general, as the chief executive of the department in charge of coroners, may also overrule the coroner’s decision. One or other of them should do so and a proper independent coroner’s inquiry should be held.

I’m not convinced that the coroner has made the wrong call. As the editorial says, it is unusual to have a coronial inquest when some other body has done an investigation. The fact some family members are upset is not a reason in itself. An inquest shouldn’t be seen as some sort of appeal board.

The causes of suicide are complex and it is seldom that any one factor drives a person to it. A long and detailed investigation into the soldier’s death has been conducted by a military court of inquiry. It has reported on the immediate circumstances of the death, which involved an emotional relationship contrary to military discipline.

The soldier’s family is dissatisfied, however, claiming that questions about the wider circumstances, including allegations of continual bullying and harassment of the soldier because of his homosexuality, have not been properly answered.

It is incredibly sad that the solider killed himself, and that somehow this outcome wasn’t avoided.

However from what I have seen the major issue wasn’t the fact that he was homosexual. It was that he had an unrequited attraction to another solider and told him about it – which obviously made things difficult. The original story said:

Later in the evening, Sergeant H, who family say Hughes did not get along with, confronted Hughes about the incident where he had embarrassed Trooper A.

According to the report, Hughes broke down, admitted he was gay, and had feelings for Trooper A.

Sergeant H organised a meeting between himself, Hughes, and Trooper A, where Hughes admitted to Trooper A he had concocted the incident with the female chef and reiterated his feelings for the trooper.

This is an issue which isn’t intrinsically tied to sexuality. If the attraction was to a female solider, it would also be problematic.

Few of us can control whom we are attracted to. I certainly can’t. But you can control whether or not you act on it, or tell people about it. In a number of former jobs I’ve had colleagues I was attracted to but would never have told them that as it would have caused problems in the workplace.

This is not to say the fact Hughes was gay and the attraction was to another male didn’t make the situation more stressful. I’m sure it did, and it is of huge regret that he ended up taking his life.

The report into Hughes’ death, prepared by an inquiry team that travelled to Afghanistan and interviewed 47 witnesses, does not record any instances of Hughes being bullied, mocked or humiliated, but his family suspect that was the case.

I think you need something more than suspicion, to claim the Army inquiry was inadequate. There is no proof at all that it was.

Now the issue is slightly muddied by the fact the coroner who declined to do an inquest wrote a submission to Parliament against the same sex marriage bill. There is a seperate debate you can have about the wisdom of a quasi-judicial officer doing that. But I don’t think that means he has necessarily made the wrong decision in not holding an inquest. Unless there is some proof that the Army inquiry was inadequate or missed vital evidence, I think the decision is the right one.

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53 Responses to “Not convinced”

  1. Harriet (4,497 comments) says:

    “….does not record any instances of Hughes being bullied, mocked or humiliated, but his family suspect that was the case….”

    He may have ‘felt’ bullied or persecuted, as gays have a far different set of ‘perceptions’ than hetrosexuals.

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  2. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Solid post. May I add two addendums?

    1- A coroner is a state official who investigates the cause of death for official purposes. They are not there to satisfy the desires of the family of the victims for closure – as harsh as that may sound.

    2- DPF is quite right to point out that this isn’t instrinsically about sexuality. However, this does illustrate the trade-off inherent in prioritising inclusiveness over unit cohesion. For many years, this was the rationale – rather than blind prejudice – for excluding both women and homosexuals from a number of roles in the military. A political decision – which is actually full throatedly supported by many servicemen themselves – has superceded this concern. I don’t really have a position as to the ultimate merits either way, but it cannot be denied that there is a trade off.

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  3. pedrogarcia (51 comments) says:

    “He may have ‘felt’ bullied or persecuted, as gays have a far different set of ‘perceptions’ than hetrosexuals.”

    News to me Harriet. Care to elaborate on how my perceptions are different from ‘hetrosexuals’ (sic)?

    Thanks.

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  4. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    So – he tells someone that hes attracted to them.

    That someone says “bugger off – Im not interested”

    The guy then kills himself.

    Well thats what the story is – and on Radio Live yesterday they made it clear that this is what happened.

    Seems to me that the person who killed himself had something fairly wrong in his head – like really screwed up.

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  5. Bingo99 (62 comments) says:

    Thanks Harriet – another generalisaiton that categorises an entire segment of the community based on your own narrow viewpoint. Please, stop. Please.

    I read the situation as being the family wants an inquiry into the actions of the soldier’s senior officer who instigated the meeting between the soldier and the other soldier whom he was mentoring and had affections for to “get things out in the open”. The reaction of the younger soldier is totally understandable, but equally, it seems to me that the senior officer in charge forced the situation, promopting extreme angst and humiliation for Hughes, exacerbating his stressed mental state and causing the extreme actions that he took.

    Suicide is usually not a rational state of mind (bar terminal illness). In the environment soldiers find themselves in, with a rigid hierarchy, the need for trust amongst soldiers to survive, a highly stressful environment (both mental and physical) and relatively easy access to weaponry, the senior officer’s actions look at best naive. Which prompts the question, should the NZDF have trained senior officers to deal with situations like this?

    And yes, Harriet, disclosure of one’s sexuality can heighten one’s sensitivity to otherwise gentle teasing among your peers, in large part because of the stigma associated with it as a result of people like you passing judgment and condemning it.

    Male bonds are usually reinforced by teasing, something you don’t see amongst women so much. It’s why suicides by males in high school are often a shock – heightened sensitivity because of personal circumstances (physical appearance, awkwardness of growing up, public failure, sexuality) makes that gentle teasing a lot more painful for the recipient, who usually tries to laugh it off.

    Whether this all warrants a further enquiry, or is enough to attribute culpability, I don’t know. It’s all very tragic, Shakespearean even. By all accounts, Hughes was an excellent soldier. He just happened to be going through a rough time. You hear/read about cases like this and wish you could go back and tell them that however bad it seems now, it’s not really, and it will pass.

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  6. tvb (4,196 comments) says:

    There is a perception problem that the Coroner is anti-gay. And the Coroner has caused this through his highly prejudiced and ignorant submission on the Martiage Bill. This needs to be reconsidered possibly by a High Court Judge if public confidence in Coroners is to be maintained.

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  7. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    In what sense is a coroner a “quasi-judicial officer”.

    They are defined as judges, and have security of tenure in the way that judges do, are subject to the Judicial Conduct Commissioner etc.

    Aren’t coroners judicial officers, rather than quasi-judicial ones?

    [DPF: I didn't realise that. Ta]

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  8. RRM (9,427 comments) says:

    He may have ‘felt’ bullied or persecuted, as gays have a far different set of ‘perceptions’ than hetrosexuals.

    Just fuck off.

    Plenty of young people struggle with issues of unrequited love/lust/whatever. Whether or not they are gay, or straight, or a soldier.

    A New Zealand serviceman has killed himself over something that everyone involved should have been able to walk away from. And now it’s gossip for the chattering classes.

    This is a tragedy, it’s not something to spank your political hobby horse over. Try to show a bit of respect. If you are even capable of that?

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  9. Judith (7,486 comments) says:

    I think that ‘some’ heterosexuals have a whole different set of perceptions to other heterosexuals, and those perceptions such as how gays perceive things, is in fact an obsession with ‘difference’ that they don’t understand, so instead they persecute, by making claims about what minority group members perceive!

    I wonder what they are most scared of – their own thoughts, or the thoughts of others?

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  10. In Vino Veritas (136 comments) says:

    It is a tiresome trait that has developed in NZ over the last 30 years, that someone always has to be blamed. It can never be the fault of the person directly involved. This lad unfortunately took his life because he couldn’t deal with a situation. Its terrible. But he did it himself. He chose that course of action. No one is to blame bar the lad himself.

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  11. WineOh (541 comments) says:

    Thank goodness there is no inquest, otherwise we would no doubt have another hair-brained recommendation like all gay armed forces personnel being subject to weekly interviews with a psychologist.

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  12. Harriet (4,497 comments) says:

    “….News to me Harriet. Care to elaborate on how my perceptions are different from ‘hetrosexuals’ (sic)?…”

    Gays ‘perceive’ that they can’t change – but they can :

    20 gayboys and 20 lesos would change if they were the last people on earth – to save mankind!….Right?…

    …..YOU could change couldn’t you…if you ‘perceived’ that mankind was under threat of extinction?

    I ‘perceive’ that you could – and ALL other hetro’s that YOU can muster would ‘perceive’ the same! :cool:

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  13. BeaB (2,056 comments) says:

    I am sure Hughes would be mortified to see his life splashed across the media in such a sensationalist way.
    His family surely could have respected his privacy and allowed him some dignity in death.
    What impels so many families to rush off to the media?

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  14. Judith (7,486 comments) says:

    Harriet says:

    I ‘perceive’ that you could – and ALL other hetro’s that YOU can muster would ‘perceive’ the same!

    WRONG – I’m heterosexual. I love boys, and have loved many in my life (now she’ll call me a slapper!)
    But I do not ‘perceive’ the same as you. Gay or heterosexual, you are what you are, and there is not some magic button to push to make you sexually desire something different.

    Sure, a person can spend years partaking in gay or heterosexual acts, perhaps in an effort to deny what they are, but they can’t ‘change’ what they really are. Performing an ‘act’ does not define you. The problems occur when you try to believe it does or can.

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  15. Bingo99 (62 comments) says:

    But the issue is culpability, right? What were the causes that led to his death? The investigation seems to largely clear the senior officer who instigated the meeting with the younger soldier, despite this appearing to be the turning point.

    And yes I’m sure he’d be horrified this is now in the public arena. But it is, so let’s discuss it with respect.

    @Harriet – this bizarre scenario you’ve been spounting off lately on the last forty people on earth comprising 20 lesbians and 20 gay guys is NOT a basis for an argument about whether homosexuality is a choice or not.

    First up – you’re not gay, so how do you know whether you can change? Actually, when the choice was presented to you (and remind me what age that was… 8? 13? 25?) how did you determine that you were straight? Did you give each side a fair whack first?

    Secondly – what if a homosexual could actually not physically respond to a heterosexual stimulus? And even if they could, they can’t climax (dear god I can’t believe we have to talk about this!) or just feel terrible emotionally?

    And finally – if aliens invaded earth, stuck a gun to your head and told you that unless you engage in raucous lesbian romps and your husband bones some random guy walking down the street, they’ll wipe out humanity, could you do it? See? Ridiculous hypotheticals are no basis for rational debate.

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  16. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Can gays be converted to heterosexuality? Who knows? Psychologists probably have the best idea – let’s defer to them for the time being.

    In the meantime, Harriet, why the need for dehumanising language? Even if you don’t approve of what gay people do, surely you accept them as being people? Showing malice towards gay people in word and action – does not make for a healthier society or advance your case.

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  17. Judith (7,486 comments) says:

    BeaB (1,515) Says:
    March 6th, 2013 at 10:59 am
    ————————-

    The family is grieving. They have lost someone very dear to them in tragic circumstances. They want to know why, they want answers, and sometimes getting the media involved is the only way of achieving that.

    This young man took his own life. That is not the ‘normal’ thing to do. Although sadly in NZ it is becoming all too frequent. Whether this man’s sexuality played a role in his decision is important. Not just to the family, but to the community in general. If the manner in which we treat minority groups is so bad, that they feel no other course of action, but to kill themselves, then we as a community need to address that. It may not be the reason, there could be many causes but surely we haven’t become so immune to these sad deaths, that we now criticise the family for wanting answers – we should all be asking the same question/s – what is causing our young people to chose death over life?

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  18. backster (2,074 comments) says:

    BeaB….Er..compensation?……..Graeme E……….I didn’t realise there was such an entity as a Judicial Conduct Commissioner He/She must be overworked, shun publicity, and be completely ineffective, and he must be far too busy trying to drag Judge Cunningham and her mates back to reality to waste his time on Coronors.

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  19. cubit (356 comments) says:

    The family is grieving – but which part of the (extended) family is now raising a number of concerns. Immediate or extended?

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  20. Judith (7,486 comments) says:

    Does it matter Cubit? Does it matter even if it is the family’s milkman that is raising concerns?

    This was suicide, I’ve never met the man, but I’d like to know why life became so terrible for him, that he would rather die than live another day.

    I cannot perceive any situation in which I would take my own life, other than terminal illness. This young man wasn’t terminally ill, so why?

    Was it his occupation, was it his sexuality, was it a mix of both? Was there something else in his life we don’t know about, or was it the actions described above that contributed to his decision?

    He is gone, and can’t be bought back, but if in knowing how he made that decision, we can gain knowledge and then prevent the same happening to another viable young man or woman, then surely that is the sensible thing to do?

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  21. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    OK – lets sort this out.

    Im going to set up a business.
    Ill call it : ‘Blame Inc’, or maybe even ‘The Blame Game’

    Our motto will be “we will find someone to blame – no matter how innocent they are”

    Have no fear – we will sort this out. Someone has got to be blamed for this. And I can assure you – the poor bugger who gets the blame will have had nothing to do with it………

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  22. Paulus (2,493 comments) says:

    This is sad, but it must be borne in mind that this was in Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan, not Burnham Barracks.
    Whether you like it or not the seniors there at the time had to take this into consideration when counselling.
    This is a War zone and opportunities to send somebody back home is not possible.

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  23. Bingo99 (62 comments) says:

    @Judith. Agreed. But for those remaining, suicide is always a confusing decision. It makes no sense. But for the person who pursues suicide, it is no longer about rational decisions. They’re in a hole, a dark confusing place. However they got there, someone needs to be on hand to see their circumstances and pull them out of it.

    There’s an intersting letter-to-the-editor in today’s Herald from a former NZDF Chaplain. He makes excellent points about how his role was in part to help soldier’s in Hughes’ position – as a non-judgemental sounding board, someone he could confide in. Seems like a caring man and he rightfully asks if a Chaplain was available in Afghanistan.

    @Barry – before you moan about this being a blame-game, read the Sunday Star Times feature on this. One of the rare occasions when the SST has produced a well balanced, informative piece. THEN you can call up talkback radio.

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  24. Harriet (4,497 comments) says:

    “…..In the meantime, Harriet, why the need for dehumanising language?….”

    When I first started commenting here and defending the welfare of women and children by argueing that the definition of Marriage should not be changed – I was called a bigot, homophobe, closet gay etc etc.

    Am I not to be ‘offended’ by that BS?

    People here have commented that ‘gays should be allowed to get married because some women who are Married don’t have children’ -For most of those people it’s a medical condition that ALL women and MOST men would hate to be in when Married.

    And I’m supposed to show ‘compassion’ for the gay marriage supporters and not use ‘dehumanising language’?

    C’mon Cato, the pro-gay marriage mob prey on the emotions of sincere people who are concerned about the welfare of gays….and bully them into supporting gay Marriage.

    Just look at the suicide rates of gays in San Francisco[the most gay friendly place on earth] – the rates are the same as in other comparable cities such as London. Toronto. NY. Paris. Sydney.Melbourne.Auckland……Gay Marriage is then not about the ‘welfare’ of gays……but they’ll keep rolling out the suicides to get it!

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  25. Harriet (4,497 comments) says:

    Barry@

    Spot on!

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  26. Judith (7,486 comments) says:

    Harriet (1,276) Says:
    March 6th, 2013 at 11:45 am
    ——————————

    Have you ever considered that the manner in which you ‘dehumanise’ gay people, your persecution of them, and the negativity shown towards them from people who share your beliefs, may in fact be a large contributing factor to why so many commit suicide?

    People don’t commit suicide because they are homosexual. Think about it.

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  27. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Harriet – if somebody accuses them of bigotry then why on earth would you want to validate that in their eyes by using unnecessarily hurtful language?

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  28. freemark (431 comments) says:

    Look, as I see it the guy (RIP) behaved deplorably. His sexuality is a non issue, he used a position of authority or seniority to try to manipulate the workplace to suit his desires, lied, made unwelcome advances, and was busted. Worse I guess was the fact that it was a high risk place (war zone) where any kind of distraction can have fatal consequences for others. He was a grown man, how many resources should the Army or society throw at people whose behaviour is entirely inappropriate for the situation. I have a feeling that if you scratch the surface behind the family complaint you will see the rainbow faction of the various & nefarious left with an agenda.

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  29. virtualmark (1,472 comments) says:

    There’s a very simple reason the Coroner didn’t hold an inquest into the suicide of a New Zealand soldier in Afghanistan …

    The Coroners Act sets Coroners responsibilities as being to investigate suspicious or unexplained deaths that occur in New Zealand, or on a plane or ship registered in New Zealand, or on an NZDF plane or ship.

    Hughes died in a forward base in Afghanistan. Strictly speaking the Coroners don’t have jurisdiction to investigate.

    They could be instructed to investigate by the Solicitor General or the High Court, but I don’t think that’s been the case here.

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  30. Nigel Kearney (864 comments) says:

    I fully support gay marriage but this does like an example of the sort of thing opponents warned would happen.

    The coroner was opposed to gay marriage and said so. Therefore he is anti-gay. Therefore he is unfit to hold public office. To make matters worse, he’s a Mormon. David rightly didn’t raise that, but the news story I saw mentioned it four times as if that reinforces his alleged lack of judgment.

    Don’t try to suggest that his submission to Parliament was the problem. Even if he did decline the inquest due to his personal views about gay people, why would keeping such views a secret make it better?

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  31. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    “The coroner was opposed to gay marriage and said so. Therefore he is anti-gay. Therefore he is unfit to hold public office.”

    Nigel, can I ask you a sincere question? Do you think that the above attitude is a minority one among gay marriage proponents? I ask because we don’t often hear it. Is your view that a large section of your compatriots on this matter also share this ultimate view – but don’t express it for reasons of expedience?

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  32. Bingo99 (62 comments) says:

    @Freemark – you have no specific knowledge of how he behaved, so it’s not really fair to pass judgement. Equally, do you know how everyone else around him was behaving? No? Funny that.

    You ask how many resources the Army should throw at this. Fair question. I’d respond by saying it’s not unreasonable to throw as many as necessary to protect the emotional welfare of your soldiers in the most high profile, stressful deployments you have. If that includes a Chaplain or trained counsellor, so be it. I’d also ask what your experience is in combat and being on the front line? Do you know what it’s like? Can you put yourself in that position and imagine being told there’s no one to download your worries to because of cutbacks back home?

    Now I’m not sure if there was a counsellor or Chaplain present. If there was, it seems like they should have been handling the situation rather than the senior officer involved. If there wasn’t, then why the bloody hell not?

    And no need to find a vast left wing conspiracy. There is none. There’s no rainbow faction either. It’s just a grieving family.

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  33. SPC (5,334 comments) says:

    Given the legislation specifically allows people to challenge the legitimacy of same sex marriage, even after it occurs, I do not think that there is any undermining of the right of anyone in public office to hold such an opinion. Many of them are current MP’s and some Cabinet Ministers.

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  34. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    I cannot perceive any situation in which I would take my own life

    What about when David Bain is told he won’t be getting a brass razoo? :)

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  35. SPC (5,334 comments) says:

    Harriet, so the complaints made by the victims of persecution and discrimination is just a ploy to get political support?

    And you place concern about suicide rates into this category – in this case the lack may have been in chaplain/counselling services.

    As for suicide rates, these have been influenced by HIV infection – and as for San Francisco – gay friendly does not include right to marry. And inclusion in mainstream society as equals does improve sense of well-being.

    http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1112793004/same-sex-couples-less-healthy-than-heterosexual-022713/

    And the impact of being subject to bullying, as many same sex people are in their youth (before they arrive in urban centres), is long lasting.

    http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1112789579/bullies-and-victims-lasting-psychological-harm-022213/

    PS As to marriages, capacity to have, or intent to have (if there is capacity) has never been a condition for marriage. Thus people of an older age have been able to marry.

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  36. Judith (7,486 comments) says:

    freemark (123) Says:
    March 6th, 2013 at 1:42 pm
    Look, as I see it the guy (RIP) behaved deplorably. His sexuality is a non issue, he used a position of authority or seniority to try to manipulate the workplace to suit his desires, lied, made unwelcome advances, and was busted.

    His sexuality is very much an issue in this. Do you know how many times male officers and superiors in the armed forces try to ‘manipulate the workplace’ to ‘suit their desires’, and make unwelcome advances, and lie about it when busted? It happens heaps of times, over and over again. The females concerned don’t even bother reporting it, just close ranks and support each other.

    He was singled out because he was gay and made advances to another man. He was made to feel shame for the same act that many of his superiors and peers do on a daily basis, except for them, they are heterosexual, and it gets overlooked. Until recently even some cases of rape against females were ‘overlooked’ in the armed forces.

    This young man did no more than many of us have done, misread the ‘come on’ signs from another person. He did not deserve to lose his life over it, or be treated any differently from anyone else that has done the same, regardless of their sexuality. His situation was made a whole heap worse because he was a gay male. Had it been a gay female, or a heterosexual female or male, he would have received a whole lot more support just from his fellow service personnel.

    That he should read the signs wrong, is not surprising. He was in a combat zone, stressed, and unlike heterosexual men, he would not have been taught by his father, brothers, uncles etc how to recognise the signs for when another man is giving him the ‘come on’. For gay men that is very much a personal learning experience.

    His being gay is what turned a regular act, into something much worse.

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  37. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    SPC – I agree. I am not saying the legislation has that effect.

    All I am asking is how prevalent Nigel’s view that somebody who believes in traditional marriage is, ipso facto, unfit to hold public office.

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  38. Judith (7,486 comments) says:

    ross69 (2,100) Says:
    March 6th, 2013 at 2:40 pm
    ——————————
    Don’t you think its time you grew up?

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  39. Chuck Bird (4,667 comments) says:

    “They are defined as judges, and have security of tenure in the way that judges do, are subject to the Judicial Conduct Commissioner etc.”

    In my opinion and from my experience the Judicial Conduct Commissioner does nothing effective and does not earn his money and should be done away with unless his role is made effective. He takes a complaint and passes it onto the judge who give his or her version of events and the judges version of events is automatically accepted – a total waste of time and taxpayers money.

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  40. Chuck Bird (4,667 comments) says:

    I read that a male sailor just got 6 months military detention for taking video or of females in the shower. I do not believe it was posted on the internet but just used by him for a purpose similar to Tugger Jones. What if this guy tops himself – will there by an outcry he should have got counseling instead on detention? I doubt it.

    Corporal Hughes got to perv in the shower on the object of his desire. How do you think Private A would feel if he was he in the shower and Corporal Hughes was starring at his dick.

    The reminds me of Darren Hughes. If a female had been found stark naked and after leaving his residence you can be sure if charges were not laid there would be a call for them to be. What do we get instead – Labour and the media saying given a little time there is a place for this serial sexual predictor back in politics as an MP.

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  41. freemark (431 comments) says:

    @Judith, @bingo
    I don’t buy into your respective “persecuted gay man” arguments. As a respected soldier he should have been able to grow some balls and say “I’m gay, no big deal” What he did instead was try and get other people in the shit by deception and lying. Should he have got “special treatment” from the military (at taxpayers cost) because he was gay? Your anecdotal evidence regarding military harassment is just that IMO.. and with 47 people interviewed in Afghanistan, a military enquiry, a coroners enquiry.. what is it you are after?
    I stand by my comment regarding the left stirring up the family.. we have seen so many lies, manipulation of the unfortunate, funding of the subversive etc by the left recently that is obvious there is not a scrap of morality or honesty amongst them.. do I include you in that as well??

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  42. SPC (5,334 comments) says:

    …left, not a scrap of morality or honesty amongst them .. do I include you in that as well

    Prejudiced much?

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  43. freemark (431 comments) says:

    @SPC

    no, just perceptive.

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  44. SPC (5,334 comments) says:

    Do you hear voices too, so you that you know God better than any other human, or just believe that Moses, Jesus and Mohammed did?

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  45. freemark (431 comments) says:

    WTF?? I make no mention of God or other entities that some believe in.. as is their right. I don’t believe we should accord them special treatment either however, or look to blame “someone else” when they struggle to live with the results of their actions.

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  46. SPC (5,334 comments) says:

    freemark, some people base their supremacism over others on faith grounds – you apparently on the basis that right wingers have good qualities and left wingers have bad qualities. Such is said to be a prejudice, not a superior perception.

    Blame someone else for the consequences of their actions – like employers who say they lack skilled workers and yet have no staff retention programme or internal training?

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  47. freemark (431 comments) says:

    Ad hom, spin it how you want. I live on the 3rd most populous Island in NZ, and the lies and nastiness of the left emanating here are sickening. similar to the ones spouted by other greens, reds etc.. throughout NZ & further afar. It is at the stage where most decent people believe nothing at all coming from them. The further left, the more inherently dishonest, driven by the barely concealed lust for power.. disguised as a concern for people & the planet.

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  48. SPC (5,334 comments) says:

    keep proving my point why don’t you …

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  49. Nigel Kearney (864 comments) says:

    To be clear, I think what the coroner did is fine. I simply set out the argument being made by the people complaining about the coroner in a way that ought to have made it obvious how unsound that argument is.

    No doubt there are same sex marriage supporters who do think that way. I have no idea how many. But the Human Rights Act already gives them a lot more legal backing than same sex marriage would do. I would allow same sex marriage but remove most of the prohibited grounds of discrimination from the HRA except maybe race and sex and even those I’m not sure we need in there.

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  50. Bingo99 (62 comments) says:

    @Freemark, I’m not sure if you’re deliberately missing the point. It seems that way. This isn’t a persecution complex/excuse, it’s a a simple matter of ensuring your soldiers are emotionally supported.

    To put it in the simplist of terms…

    A soldier (a very good one at that) was going through a rough patch, apparently exacerbated by his own insecurity over his sexuality and a crush on a colleague. His superior forces him to confront the object of his affection, who reacts negatively. Soldier, in distressed state, takes his life.

    Does his sexuality factor into this? Yes. As would any other characteristic were it as ridiculed and admonished by people like yourself. Baldness, big lips, squeeky voices. Doesn’t matter. Can’t change them. Shouldn’t try.

    What I’m arguing is that soldiers on the front line be provided with sufficient emotional support. And YES, on the bloody taxpayer’s dime (ugh!) – arguably it would save money as emotionally secure soldiers perform better and achieve more desirable results. Small investment, big return.

    Given, as I suspect, you have never been on the front line, experienced the horrors of Afghanistan or dealt with the stigma of homosexuality, I would have thought this would be a fairly reasonable position. But no, this has to be turned into a right vs. left, rainbow conspiracy, the-UN-is-going-to-take-over-the-world nutjob fest. When all it is is common sense.

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  51. Bingo99 (62 comments) says:

    On a final note, whatever official counselling service (if any) was available, the superior officer sought to bypass this and intervene directly, forcing the confrontation that ultimately led to Hughes’ suicide.

    Evidently the Coroner found no issue with this. If I was family, I would quesiton this too, if only to ensure procedures and sufficient support was in place to avoid a tragic repeat. And if I was stonewalled by the top-brass, then I’d want to raise awareness too.

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  52. Judith (7,486 comments) says:

    Excellent Post Bingo, I totally agree. If we expect these young men to put their ‘lives on the line’ and live in under conditions that most of us have never experienced, the least we can do is spend what it takes to ensure they receive support where it is needed.

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  53. Chuck Bird (4,667 comments) says:

    Dead soldier’s mother critical of coroner
    TONY WALL
    Last updated 10:28 07/03/2013

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8394062/Dead-soldiers-mother-critical-of-coroner

    As I said yesterday compare this with the sailor who got 6 months in military detention for taking videos of females in the shower. I consider sexual harassment by someone in a senior position in the military more serious than taking videos of someone in the shower on in the loo. Other may disagree. However, if the sailor committed suicide while being investigated I doubt if people would be blaming the military.

    I doubt if he well be getting as much consideration as Hughes who tried to force his unwanted attentions on someone who did not share his deviancy.

    It is bloody outrageous that homosexuals demand that open homosexuals can serve in the military but get special counselling if they get picked on. I do not think the Taliban would give much counselling to any homosexual or bisexual soldiers they may capture.

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