No extra time for assaulting guards

May 22nd, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A dangerous high-security prisoner who killed a Corrections officer has been sentenced for assaulting two more but will spend no extra time in prison, a penalty the prison guards’ union calls disgraceful.

Latu Kepu was already serving a jail sentence for the manslaughter of prison guard Jason Palmer when he attacked two other guards in separate incidents last October.

Kepu was sentenced at the North Shore District Court yesterday after previously pleading guilty to two charges of assault.

Judge Philippa Sinclair sentenced him to seven months in prison, to be served concurrently. That means Kepu will not have time added on to his sentence and is still eligible for parole in 2015 on his manslaughter conviction.

Well that will teach him a lesson. Not a single extra day in prison for bashing two prison guards up.

It is disgraceful. This makes life even more dangerous for prison guards if prisoners see they can bash them up and not get any extra penalty.

UPDATE: The disgrace it seems is the Herald story, not the sentence. Whale Oil blogs an e-mail from the Ministry of Justice:

In fact, Latu Kepa was sentenced yesterday in the North Shore Court on a s9 Summary Offences Act assault and a s196 Crimes Act assault (both on prison guards) to 7 months imprisonment cumulatively on his present sentence of Manslaughter. I have checked the court file, the prison warrant and listened to the court recording at the relevant part and all of them refer to a cumulative sentence.

I’m sorry to say the Corrections Association also seems to have been misinformed : “At a minimum, the seven-month sentence should have been cumulative to the manslaughter sentence, Mr Hanlon said.”

Please let me know if you require any further assistance,

Warm regards,

Sonja.

Sonja de Friez.
Director of Community Engagement, District Courts.

That is a huge error by the Herald to get the main fact of the story wrong. My regrets that I assumed the story was correct in criticizing the sentence.

The Herald have removed their story from their website. I trust it will be replaced by an apology.

Tags:

44 Responses to “No extra time for assaulting guards”

  1. Jack5 (4,571 comments) says:

    Agreed, it is a disgrace.

    There should be death penalty for killing a prison guard.

    In the meantime, where does the State find these wimpy judges?

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. kowtow (7,591 comments) says:

    You’d wonder who is more dangerous,the crim who bashes you or the judge who won’t punish him?

    It cannot be a surprise as to how the political/establishment elite has come to be held in such disdain by such large numbers in society?

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. David Garrett (6,350 comments) says:

    It’s times like this I wish I didnt have a living to earn, and a practising certificate to protect…

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Honeybadger (149 comments) says:

    I am with you Jack on the death penalty here in NZ, but if we cant have that, I want ‘true’ punishment for violent offenders, I am sick and tired of these thugs being treated so leniently

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. kowtow (7,591 comments) says:

    DG you make a very good point about having to earn a living.

    Our society has become so debased by non judgmentalism,relativism and welfare that huge sections no longer have to worry or even care about the basics of putting food on the table or providing a warm safe home to ones family.

    And the result is the explosion in violent crime that this animal represents,not to mention the attitude displayed by the “judge”.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. smttc (689 comments) says:

    What David Garrett said.

    And the Law Society pokes the borax at the SST for its Judge The Judges website. Presumably the NZLS will now come out in support of this judicial decision.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Nigel Kearney (864 comments) says:

    I agree with Jack5 there should be the death penalty for murdering a prison guard. I don’t support the death penalty generally but there are situations where it is best for practical reasons. Who could reasonably expect a prison guard to be around someone like this who is known to be willing and able to kill someone with their bare hands?

    Maybe this is an exception because there was a single punch and the guard died after falling and hitting their head. So the manslaughter conviction might be correct though a five year sentence is too little.

    Also, I don’t understand concurrent sentencing at all. There doesn’t seem to be any logical reason for it, and the perverse incentives are horrible. It’s like a ‘buy one get one free’ deal and has a similar effect. Even more so for prisoners where the subsequent offence doesn’t increase the risk of getting caught.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Manolo (13,339 comments) says:

    I blame colonisation for Kepu’s unfortunate upbringing.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. dubya (214 comments) says:

    Let’s just have a ban on judges named Philippa?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10748953

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. dime (9,392 comments) says:

    wow

    not only will he not do any more time, he will have legendary status while in prison from the other shit heads.

    i just hope the guards are making his life absolute hell. i hope they really fuck with his head. even just basic shit to start. inmate comes back to cell and his tv is longer working? thats strange! it seems to be missing parts! things like guards smoking outside his cell and letting the smoke waft in :) fucking up his visits. just mean spirited stuff like that. maybe the guy gets involved in a few “accidents”. things like “what happened? its almost like someone threw a jug of boiling water on you”

    ill stop now

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Bob R (1,336 comments) says:

    I suspect Judge Sinclair just wanted to get on this new site.

    http://www.judgethejudges.co.nz/

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. David Farrar (1,853 comments) says:

    Note the update to the post. The Herald story was incorrect and the sentence was cumulative not concurrent.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. alex Masterley (1,490 comments) says:

    I have been involved in cases over a long period of time, as Mr Garrett has, where the facts of the case as a lawyer knows them are totally diviorced from those reported in the media or where the focus of the reporting is not on the substance of a case but the sensational bits.

    For that reason I am assuming the herald reporter got the nature of the charges correct, the pleas of guilty correct and the sentence, but nothing else. This assumption is made becasue the herald reporter will be a skilled and trained journalist!

    Judge Sinclars sentencing notes will be available as a matter of course as she is required to issue them under the Sentencing act. It should be noted that the sentencing exercise is not conducted in a vacum, but will follow submissions from the prosecution and the lawyer representing the prisoner. And possibly a probation report, whatever good that will do.

    So before bollocking the judge as an instant reflex perhaps read the sentencing notes and then bollock her if it is justified or the prosecution if the sentence is something like they were seeking.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. KathyS (17 comments) says:

    Interesting that the courts have a “director of community engagement”…. seems she’s doing her job.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Nigel Kearney (864 comments) says:

    Well done Sonja de Friez.

    Somebody has to do the work that journalists are no longer doing. It’s nice to have public servants step up like this when needed because we can’t rely on bloggers for everything.

    And the Herald should not have disappeared the story so the link goes nowhere.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. lastmanstanding (1,204 comments) says:

    Its a still a namby pamby sentence from yet another namby pamby Judge. Fact is the so called Judciary in NZ are just a bunch of left wing liberal soft cocks who are immune to the suffering of the victims of crime.

    Fact is they remind me of the effects of porn on people. After sitting on their arses in Courts hearing cases day after day they are insensitive.

    Time we had a time limit on Judges so we had some fresh eyes and ears that aren’t tainted.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Lance (2,442 comments) says:

    OK so (rightly or wrongly) we have agreed as a society not to execute scum of the earth.

    But this …….. person………. is acting as a rabid dog, lying in wait to lash out and attack with no negative feedback.

    What is wrong with muzzling and shacking the very dangerous inmate?
    After a while the restraints come off, if the shit head tries it again, back on they go, no lesson learnt.

    The choice to behave like an animal is the inmates choice, so are the consequences.

    But of course there will be the usual “you can’t do that, it’s inhumane”.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Keeping Stock (10,095 comments) says:

    @ DPF – please remove my comment from the GD thread. I have since blogged an apology to Judge Sinclair.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    Its a still a namby pamby sentence from yet another namby pamby Judge.

    He got 7 months. The charges were summary offences act assault (maximum six months) and crimes act assault (maximum one year). It could have been a little higher, yes, but this is a pretty big proportion of the maximum sentence.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. David Garrett (6,350 comments) says:

    The fact that it is cumulative changes things completely…Graeme E is quite correct in his assessment of the sentence.

    But what abysmal reporting from our former “journal of record”…what an absolute sad joke it has become….their “journalists” can’t write, can’t spell, and as this story shows, they can’t get fundamental facts right.

    But they can still publish op-ed pieces by failed former Labour politicians from England on a regular basis.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Judith (7,530 comments) says:

    Another example of law changes that lead to offenders with psychiatric issues being imprisoned in a mainstream environment that is not geared to handling them.

    Why make his sentence longer – he probably enjoys being locked up with a ready supply of the people he likes to attack?

    Clearly he has psychiatric or psychological issues which are not severe enough to allow attention under our current legislation. We need legislative change that allows, in some circumstances, for a non-finite sentence to be imposed that ensures the prisoner can be handled in forensic unit that keeps him there until such time as he is no longer a threat either to the community or corrections employees.

    The current legislation is not sufficient – too hard to meet the criteria.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. RRM (9,435 comments) says:

    :lol: Reading this thread before and after DPF’s *UPDATE* – it’s amazing how people see what they want to see…

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    where the facts of the case as a lawyer knows them are totally diviorced from those reported in the media or where the focus of the reporting is not on the substance of a case but the sensational bits.

    Agreed. Relying on the media for accurate court reporting is like depending upon France not to surrender when the Germans invade.  2 out of 3 times you will be let down badly, and the other time they will only get it partially right because someone else assisted them.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. David Garrett (6,350 comments) says:

    FES: A little off topic, but justified, given this “epic fail” as I believe is the current vernacular… what do you think about SST’s “Judge the Judges” website? If you haven’t already done so, please actually visit it before you respond…I think you may have opined in agreement with the Law Society luminaries before it was actually live…

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. kowtow (7,591 comments) says:

    ref my 1204 sheepishly rephrased;

    You’d wonder who’s more dangerous ,the newspaper journos or union officials who shoot off before checking their facts? :)

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. David Garrett (6,350 comments) says:

    kowtow: This particular union official is nothing more than a lackey for the Labour party…He actually opposed 3S on the grounds that it would collect too many dangerous criminals in the jails, and thus make the workplace more dangerous for his members! Seriously….much better to have such people wandering around in the community for the rest of us to deal with, apparently…

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    DG,

    Already done.  It would be fair to say that I am not a fan, although I explained why less emotively a bit shortly after.

    The site reminds me of an attempt at a campaign by, if I recall correctly, The Sun newspaper that gained initial support from some UK Labour MPs who were at that time in Government, to ‘name and shame’ judges who gave ‘lenient’ sentences that were overturned on appeal.  It was initially popular, but when one of the legal profession organisations asked if they would also be ‘naming and shaming’ judges whose sentences were reduced upon appeal, the whole thing seemed to run out of steam.

    I don’t think it is a good site at all.  I think a better option would be to suggest that the Crown appeal sentences more often, rather than ‘shaming’ the judges who give an initial sentence that the SST thinks, based generally upon media reports, was too soft. 

    Now, if the SST wrote up about sentences where they actually had someone in the courtroom at the time of sentencing, who heard what was said by both Crown, Defence, and Judge,  and who had access to the written sentencing submissions, then you might have an argument over whether the person can say whether a sentence was inappropriate or not.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. David Garrett (6,350 comments) says:

    FES: Fair comments…although the site carries a clear disclaimer warning people that while every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, they should make their own enquiries, the newspapers are obviously one of the primary sources of information used for content on the site, and this debacle shows just how unreliable they are…

    The “journalist” who wrote this story shouldn’t be writing for the Rodney Times, much less the former journal of record…dollars to doughnuts nothing will happen to him/her, and it will all be dismissed as a minor error…

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. flipper (3,538 comments) says:

    It is good that there is sensible discussion on this matter – NOW that the real facts have been posted.

    I have previously commented on the inadequacies of media reporting.
    The Corrections Union is one of the main impediments to better value for money (Lord help us, so to speak) for the, millions we spend on prisons.

    The nub of the problem is that the union is concerned only with driving and maintaining a “them and us” position – solely for financial gain.

    Most prison inmates have little or zero literacy skills, and they do NOT understand how society functions. They regard the Police and Corrections officers as “the gang in blue” – part of the police/legal industrial complex!

    I do NOT seek in any way to justify or support their actions – simply to explain. But frankly the schism between the intellectual “haves” and the “have not’s” is so wide that it might well be the Grand Csnyon.

    There is no easy solution to this. Judith mentioned a problem that is very real. The bullshit “lock ‘em up and throw away the key”: solution advocated by some is just that – BULLSHIT.

    David G. You are more intelligent than that,
    Deep down you know that knee jerk reactions are unlikely to do more than satisfy personal angst.

    In this case, one might argue over 7 or 10 or 12 months. Seven is possibly a little light, but the real problem is the absence of linked psychiatric treatment.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. David Garrett (6,350 comments) says:

    flipper: Thanks for your reference to my supposed intelligence, but what are you talking about? If you are suggesting that “lock him up and throw away the key” solutions for guys like Mr Latu are bullshit, then I strongly disagree.

    I am far less qualified that Dr Judith, but I happen to have had a fair bit to to with the forensic psych system recently. If Latu’s violence was caused by a treatable mental illness, I am fairly confident – there are always errors which prove the rule – that he would be in the Mason clinic and not prison. He may have a personality disorder of some kind, and there is bugger all we can do about them. What is more likely is that he is simply a violent bastard who will remain a violent bastard until, to borrow from the Parole Board’s language in the case of Rufus Marsh, “he is wearied by age.”

    For men like this – what an American executioner dryly called “God’s mistakes” – there are in my view only two rational responses by society: humane execution, or secure detention…until age wearies them. For a number of reasons, the first alternative is off the agenda. The second isn’t, and nor should it be. Latu, Bell, Burton, Baker and a few others less well known will all be very dangerous men for a very long time.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    Slightly off topic but nonethe less relevant.

    A man whose driving killed four people in two horrific crashes will not be allowed to drink alcohol or get behind the wheel when he is released from prison in less than two weeks.

    Hawthorn’s release conditions include that he must live where directed by his probation officer, and must not contact his victims’ families.

    He must also see a psychologist and undertake any treatments they recommend.

    The conditions will be imposed for six months after his release, but cannot legally be imposed any longer.

    ========================

    Maybe we have a problem here.
    According to the above parole conditions can only be imposed for maximum six months.

    the legals will know if this is correct.

    If it is then we have some changes to make, esppecially to fellows like this and worse. Killed 4 people and after prison is only under curfew of activities for 6 months. WTF.
    People like this are serial offenders and no jail time removes that from the physci.

    People like this need conditions until they prove they can live within those parameters and become a civil being. That may take years and so parole should be permant but reviewable upon the proof of good behavoir but never extinguished.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. flipper (3,538 comments) says:

    Calm down David.

    I know you are intelligent. But sometimes you allow your posturing and established positions on issues to get in the way of rational thought. I could have worded my comment on that better and for that I withdraw and apologise, with more meaning and intent than shown by Parliamentarians.

    I hold no brief for Latu or any similar piece of crap.
    But knee jerk reactions do NOT solve deep seated societal problems. It is a societal problem, DG.
    I intend, and make, no criticism of you, personally.
    But hard ass solution are not always the best,
    Please think about that,
    And do not quote to be me any US statistical bullshit.
    We have a totally different cultural mix in NZ (You know something of the Polynesian attitude toward violence. Think about that!) and applying US “solutions” (unless you wish to start a prison industrial complex) are, and will always be, bullshit.

    I repeat…slow down. Back off and think.

    Cheers
    F

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. flipper (3,538 comments) says:

    So, before I sign off for the night, would the two folk who gave me thumbs down, care to argue the contrary.
    I shall reply, agreeing or disagreeing, tomorrow. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. David Garrett (6,350 comments) says:

    flipper: I’m sorry again…I must sound far more wound up than I actually am! But I make no excuse for being passionate about this stuff.

    And all joking aside, I believe New York is overwhelmingly convincing proof that what academics say can’t be done actually often can be, and that there can actually be quite simple solutions to supposedly impossibly complex problems – which is anathema to academics, who always wish things to be hugely complicated….so they can continue to explain both the problems and the (non) solutions patiently to the hoi polloi.

    I didn’t just make up the claim that New York was said to be “ungovernable”; that was Guiliani’s predecessor, Ed Koch if memory serves me. Guilani simply wouldnt accept that, and found himself a police chief who was prepared to “take the city back, block by block”, as former NYPD Chief Bratton tells it. And that’s just what they did. They literally cleaned up one block at a time, painted out the graffiti, and arrested the drug dealers and standover men. When they came out and offended again, the arrested them again, and they went back to jail for twice as long. (NY sentence enhancement is a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the gist of it) Then the police moved on to the next block and did the same thing.

    What the idiots like to point out (I am not referring to you) is that New York is not a three strikes state – quite so – but it DOES have another much more complicated “sentence enhancement” regime. So the New Yorkers hit the crime problem at both ends – broken windows policing to arrest the crims, sentence enhancement to pass exponentially heavier sentences on repeat offenders. The result? The ungovernable city became governable after all. Homicides at levels last seen in the 60′s, and families back in Times Square for New Years Eves – the same place I was offered heroin and hookers at 4.30 in the afternoon in 1978.

    (Oh, and neither of the “thumbs down” came from me)

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. duggledog (1,340 comments) says:

    Flipper I didn’t give you a thumbs down but I’m giving you one now with this comment:

    ‘But sometimes you allow your posturing and established positions on issues to get in the way of rational thought’

    WTF? What rational thought do you need?

    Scumbags can’t behave in a civilised manner, they get taken out of the equation for a very very long time until they are broken, with changed legislation. Done. Me and 95% of other kiwis don’t give a f*** and live happily ever after with no guilt. There, I’ve thought it through rationally. Next.

    I venture DG knows what he’s talking about as this whole field was his raison d’etre.

    Would you leave room for rational thought when you have a home invasion? Would you have a knee jerk reaction and go for your knife or would you talk it through with the Damaged Individual. Hard ass solutions ARE the best solutions for people like this.

    ‘Wider societal problems!’ The societal problem, Flipper, is a completely soft judicial system. Everybody knows it. It’s a joke.
    I can smell the chardonnay on your breath

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. duggledog (1,340 comments) says:

    And Flipper you would want your ‘personal angst satisfied’ if you were to suffer at the hands of one of these rock apes!

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. itstricky (1,543 comments) says:

    Ta Da!

    And now we know why Judge the Judges is a pile of steaming…

    Who would have guessed?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    that was Guiliani’s predecessor, Ed Koch if memory serves me

    Guiliani’s predecessor was David Dinkins.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. wreck1080 (3,726 comments) says:

    Typical herald report.

    I’ve been privy to so called ‘news’ where the printed story differed significantly to actual facts.

    It is like they just speak to one or two people who were only vaguely involved and get the wrong information and print as fact.

    This is worse though, because they could have read the court proceedings/judgement.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. David Garrett (6,350 comments) says:

    wreck: and so far, I have not seen any apology or correction in the Herald…but I dont buy the print edition any more, has anyone seen todays collection of ads with a few “stories” sprinkled through it? Is there a correction and grovelling apology there?

    And forget “could have read the judgment…” That wont be available yet…a reporter’s job is to take shorthand notes and get the firkin facts right!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. alex Masterley (1,490 comments) says:

    David Garrett.
    No mention of the matter in this mornings edition.
    Am i surprised? no.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. David Garrett (6,350 comments) says:

    Thanks Alex…and they wonder why the thing is rapidly dying…But don’t give up…one of their “reporters” is probably working on a “Toddler swallows two dollar coin and survives – Mother has heart attack!” story for Saturday….They love important stuff like that these days…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. wreck1080 (3,726 comments) says:

    No, the front page of the herald on Saturday will be about Auckland house prices .Grrr.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. GPT1 (2,087 comments) says:

    And this is the kind of sensationalist ‘journalism’ that judging the judges is based on. This is not a semantic error but being utterly and fundamentally wrong. To compound it they race off for comment to make an “outrage” story. Making the news but not even getting it right. Disgraceful.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.