The Blessie alleged killer

May 29th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The brother of the sole survivor of the 2001 Mt Wellington RSA massacre says suppressing the name of the man charged with Blessie Gotingco’s murder isn’t fair on the community.

Stephen Couch’s sister Susan Couch was bashed and left for dead by William Bell after he murdered William Absolum, Mary Hobson, and Wayne Johnson.

Bell was under Corrections supervision at the time and had gone into the RSA to steal $12,000. He had been released from prison after serving five years for aggravated robbery on conditions being monitored by Corrections, through the Probation Service.

Mr Couch was speaking out after learning the man accused of murdering her was known to authorities.

I understand the accused is very very well known to authorities. Not sure how much one can say, but I will say I think it is a pity the three strikes law wasn’t in place a long time ago.

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153 Responses to “The Blessie alleged killer”

  1. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    I really like the preventive detention sentencing rules.
    Hopefully this creep never sees the light of day again and his spare organs are harvested on conviction

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  2. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. chris (647 comments) says:

    My wife’s theory is that he’s up for another trial already for a different offence, and by releasing his name it could prejudice that trial.

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  4. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Mike Tan..
    Jail isnt cruel or torture or disproportionate.
    If you think a max sentence is severe or disproportionate then you have problem with the penalty in each crimes section in the crimes Act, not the three strikes law

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  5. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    Accused of murder is not the same thing as convicted of murder.

    If he’s found guilty, presumably name suppression will end then?

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  6. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Chris
    That could be true, but most accussed have their names hidden if they have past criminal activity, think scott watson, his past history was not disclosed to jurors until after conviction.
    I think thats BS but thats the law.

    RRM
    yes most definitely

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  7. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    I do not think that a maximum sentence is prima facie severe. As evidenced with horrible outcomes elsewhere, such as the US, the imposition of a mandatory maximum sentence opens the door for disproportionate sentencing as the facts of the case cannot be taken into account.

    On another note, it is an encroachment on the judiciary (which per our constitution act, is supposed to operate independently of the other branches).

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  8. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    The three strikes legislation removes judicial discretion and i oppose it for this reason.

    Judges do not have that much discretion anyway and a three strike sentencing regime is no different from an increase in penalties.

    Furthermore Judges do, under the NZ three strike regime, have some discretion in the sentence they can impose (the “unusual offending circumstances” provision).

    The right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, degrading, or disproportionately severe treatment or punishment

    You can’t just assert the three strikes law breaches this right. It’s not torture or cruel or degrading treatment. You might have a point in disproportionately severe but you have to demonstrate this, not just assert it. How is a life without parole for a murder on a third strike disproportionately severe?

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  9. Lance (2,662 comments) says:

    @mike tan

    I guess some people are just too stupid to stop offending after 2 strikes. I would say the individual is seriously flawed, not the policy and their continued offending is going to hurt more and more people.

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  10. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Mike Tan
    I would say if you havent learnt your lesson the first time, nor the second then whatever you have done the third time needs to be punished to the max to teach you a lesson to not try it on again, that is partially what penalties are for

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  11. kowtow (8,524 comments) says:

    Bells’ co accused got 10 years for manslaughter and robbery.

    In my opinion as he was at the RSA murder scene and therefore a part thereof. He should have gone down for life too.

    Life should mean life.

    The community has a right to be protected from violent criminals and parliament and the courts have a duty to ensure that.

    M tan,
    on another thread you asked advice on who to vote for.Given your views on imprisonment and crim hugging I suggest you go Green, Maori, Mana or Internet.

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  12. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    @mike tan

    The three strikes legislation removes judicial discretion

    All legislation “removes judicial discretion” to some extent. But the 3-strikes law actually gives discretion by allowing the judge to make exceptions in some cases if they consider it would be “manifestly unjust”.

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  13. Nigel Kearney (1,019 comments) says:

    Judges are best placed to analyze the facts of a case …

    Judges can do that on the first strike, which is just a warning and doesn’t affect the sentence. If the judge makes a sound and wise decision, then the second and third strike will never arise because either the person doesn’t reoffend or the first strike sentence was a long one to protect the public. By the time three strikes starts to affect the sentence, at least one and probably more judges have already got it wrong. Why let them try again?

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  14. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Good point Nigel

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  15. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Hope Mike Tan has realised why three strikes is good legislation now and has gone off to join ACT

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  16. kowtow (8,524 comments) says:

    And by the time the second or third strike becomes effective ,how many more innocent lives have been destroyed?

    If it’s serious enough ,bye bye first time.Forever.

    Parliament,judges etc have lost their moral compass and their sense of duty to the society they are sworn to protect.

    And don’t tell me that duty includes violent and serious offenders.

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  17. thePeoplesFlag (247 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  18. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    I trust you see the irony in your comment, thePeoplesFlag.

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  19. markm (114 comments) says:

    In Mike Tans world only the guilty have rights , who cares about the victim.
    Certainly no one on the left.

    They go berserk when terrorists get removed from society by a drone strike.
    They focus on the lack of a trial and ignore the avowed goals of the organisation and individual to kill westerners and also there own for heinous crimes such as girls wanting to go to school and gang rape girls who dare to allow themselves to be raped.

    Time to throw away the keys on terrorists and thugs and murderers and the Mike Tans of this world can join there hard done by mates in prison .

    Do you think Mike , that before our soldiers shot a Nazi in the last 2 wars , that they should have given them a fair trial?
    What if they had Hitler in their sights.

    You lefties make me sick

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  20. NK (1,244 comments) says:

    Apropos my comment on GD this morning: http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/05/general_debate_29_may_2014.html#comment-1330706

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  21. duggledog (1,559 comments) says:

    martinh –

    ‘the third time needs to be punished to the max to teach you a lesson to not try it on again, that is partially what penalties are for’

    Yes/no

    By that stage most are beyond being taught any lessons – the point of prison for most people – not academics, lawyers, MPs etc living in nice safe suburbs (not saying that’s you) – is to keep them out of society. In the same way that invariably the ordinary people UN encounter in shit holes like Africa ask for safety from their own people first and foremost.

    That’s why I laugh whenever I see the word ‘Corrections’. It’s just a feel-good buzz word.

    For most of us, prison would go like this:
    1: Punishment – I don’t call three squares a day & TV etc but loss of freedom ‘punishment’
    2: Keeping convicts out of the community
    3: Rehabilitation

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  22. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    Can you please elaborate on what exactly you mean by “judges don’t have much discretion anyway?” (and define what the function of a judge is).

    The “unusual offending circumstances” provision is welcome and indeed does give judges some discretion, however you are presenting in a way that implies that judges have unlimited discretion to account for extenuating circumstances when this isn’t the case (rather they have limited discretion that doesn’t affect the sentence, only the time period in which parole will be granted). The law may have changed in this regard, so please correct me if i am mistaken here.

    People are slandering me as being a softy on crime. This isn’t the case at all, i agree that maximum sentences are warranted in many occasions, my concern regards those occasions where it isn’t, however rare they may be.

    Furthermore, i am not aware of any conclusive evidence that demonstrates that three strikes reduces offending rates overall. Please feel free to correct me.

    As to the person who commented on my question about which party to vote for. I am not aware of any party that presents preservation of internet freedom as a center piece of their policy. It is unfortunate that the only party that does (as far as i am aware) is tainted with the alleged offending of its leader and has now hastily merged with another party, leading voters like me to reconsider their motivations even further than i previously did.

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  23. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    Too all you soft cocks out there just remember Blessie could have been your wife mother sister. No doubt we will find that the killer was well known to the Courts and should have been locked up and the key thrown away.
    Sad thing is the Judge(s) responsible for the killer being on the streets will have no remorse. They never do. They inhabit a different world to Joe and Joess Citizen. They are immune to understanding normal human emotions.
    Time to Judge the Judges and sort the bastards out.

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  24. Nookin (3,361 comments) says:

    Martinh –“accussed”. Freudian slip?

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  25. lilman (960 comments) says:

    Hey Mike tan.I only hope you or your family don’t get knifed or bashed or shot and then have to go to court to bear witness as it’s against the rights of the scumbag to have to be held accountable for his actions in a court.

    Bottom line,you’re a dreamer and people like you make it dangerous for law-abiding citizens.

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  26. coventry (321 comments) says:

    It’s a shame that last time they were sentenced by a dud judge. In the Judges words ‘You are not a lost cause at 19′ – and for the record, the crown was seeking Preventative Detention on this prick for his earlier actions.

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  27. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    “In Mike Tans world only the guilty have rights , who cares about the victim”

    This is pure BS. I am a social liberal and am primarily concerned with individual freedom over the power of the state, much like the thinking of Thomas Jefferson, John Locke etc. I assume that you hold great disdain for these individuals and their contributions to legal philosophy.

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  28. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    Nigel:

    //Judges can do that on the first strike, which is just a warning and doesn’t affect the sentence. If the judge makes a sound and wise decision, then the second and third strike will never arise because either the person doesn’t reoffend or the first strike sentence was a long one to protect the public. By the time three strikes starts to affect the sentence, at least one and probably more judges have already got it wrong. Why let them try again?//

    This implies that correct judicial decisions reduce offending rates. The judge can make a correct decision on the first offense and re offending can occur (without discrediting the initial decision made by the judge). The judges only function is to interpret the law. The legislative, representative of the voting public, is tasked with crafting law that reduces crime rates. I am not aware of any conclusive evidence that shows that “three strikes” reaches this end.

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

    It’s simple. Because a false accusation or a botched or corrupt police investigation can ruin the life of an innocent person even if they’re later found not guilty, all accused persons should have their names suppressed pending a verdict.

    A judge should have the discretion as to whether the jury, before reaching a verdict, are informed of the accused’s prior convictions, with the presumption being that, unless there’s a very good reason not to, they should.

    Once a conviction is entered and the time for lodging an appeal is passed, all convictions become public. If the conviction (not just the sentence) is appealed, name suppression continues until that’s settled.

    Many arrested people are in fact innocent. I don’t have the figures for NZ (though I imagine they’d be similar) but in WA around half the prison population in the largest jail is people remanded in custody and of those, the majority (the exact figure varies from year to year) don’t return to prison after their trial, either because they are found not guilty or their offending is so trifling they get a spent conviction and time served.

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  30. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    Sad thing is the Judge(s) responsible for the killer being on the streets will have no remorse. They never do. They inhabit a different world to Joe and Joess Citizen. They are immune to understanding normal human emotions.
    Time to Judge the Judges and sort the bastards out.

    Interesting… I would prefer to think Judges apply the law based on what the law is, and the facts of the particular case, not their feelings and emotions?

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  31. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    To conclude, the responses here seem to (understandably) be very emotional and results oriented. Try and think about things logically, think about the way our criminal justice system functions, the rules that dictate its operation, and what reforms can be made to reach desirable ends (such as reduction of crime rates). Ideally these reforms would either be innovative, or based on hard scientific evidence.

    //Interesting… I would prefer to think Judges apply the law based on what the law is, and the facts of the particular case, not their feelings and emotions?//

    This is the ought. The “is” is that it isn’t true. Judges aren’t machines, they are humans, as a result of this, outside factors do enter judicial decision making. Regardless, the comment you are replying to is dubious as the judge is not tasked with crime prevention, the judge is only tasked with interpreting the law as it is.

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  32. doggone7 (808 comments) says:

    lastmanstanding @ 12:58 pm

    A good name for the type of sentiment expressed. Let’s have open slather vigilantism. That’d make it a much safer society.

    Every victim of every crime is someone’s son, daughter, mother or father. Judges inhabit a different world in that they have to deal in a civilised way with the problems of society. You possibly inhabit a world where a lastmanstanding mentality rules – get the buggers before they get you. A cheerful way to spend a life.

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  33. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    //Hey Mike tan.I only hope you or your family don’t get knifed or bashed or shot and then have to go to court to bear witness as it’s against the rights of the scumbag to have to be held accountable for his actions in a court.

    Bottom line,you’re a dreamer and people like you make it dangerous for law-abiding citizens.//

    There is a spectrum here, on one end you have liberty, on the other you have security. In between these two, people stake out a position as to what type of society they feel comfortable living in.

    In this case, we have people who are willing to sacrifice liberty for security, with a mechanism that isn’t even proven to improve security.

    Furthermore, there isn’t any analysis of crime rates overall. The reaction is in response to sensationalist media coverage of one specific tragic event. Scientific analysis would entail looking at trends that cover large periods of time and formulating a judgement as to the efficiency of the system based on this data alone.

    The irony is that this is “big government” thinking, something which i would have thought would be quite unpopular in these quarters. I support empowering the government to intrude on our liberties, however this support is strictly conditional on evidence that proves that i am receiving a worthwhile benefit for my sacrifice.

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  34. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Mike Tan: Don’t give up your day job…

    Please tell me now 3S “removes judicial discretion” when:

    At first strike, the sentence to be served with parole is at the absolute discretion of the Judge (subject to precedent established by appeals) and

    at second strike, the length of the sentence to be served WITHOUT parole is at the absolute discretion of the Judge (again subject to precedent on appeal); and

    at third strike, the Judge may waive the provision requiring the felon to serve the maximum prescribed by the Crimes Act if it would be “manifestly unjust” to impose such a sentence without parole…

    Please do tell us where judicial discretion is “removed”…The most that can be said is judicial discretion is curtailed at stage 3….and there are several hundred bloody good reasons why we did that…

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  35. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Mike Tan you said this at 12.57
    “People are slandering me as being a softy on crime. This isn’t the case at all, i agree that maximum sentences are warranted in many occasions, my concern regards those occasions where it isn’t, however rare they may be.”

    Can you please give me one instance when you consider it not warranted? And in NZ please
    thanks

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  36. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    MIke Tan at 1.28
    You a mixing things up there.
    This has nothing to do about liberty from the govt.
    It seem you have just broadcast what your actual gripe is which is govt intrusion into your privacy and rights, thats a whole other issue.
    Since you are worried about your personal privacy you should just say that in terms of the trade off with security.

    I am all for closed circuit cameras myself so long as its not used to punish people for parking on double yellow lines and other trivial matters and that its not used to track our movements unless suspected of a serious crime incl robbery

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  37. cricko (330 comments) says:

    Jeez mike tan
    where did you read about the “spectrum” you state we have here with liberty at one end and security at the other ?

    or…

    Did you come up with that gem all by yourself ?

    When you begin to make your point with a silly untrue statement that you present as axiomatic, all that follows is sure to be crap.

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  38. kowtow (8,524 comments) says:

    doggone

    Good name .Like “justice” ,gone to the dogs.

    Judges once inhabited our world, black handkerchief and all that. Now they take out their hankies and have a cry about the poor fuckers they don’t put away.That’s why 3 strikes was needed.The beaks weren’t doing their job any more. They ‘d become social workers……boo fucken hoo.

    There’s a convincing referendum result out there proving it’s what the New Zealand public want.Hard time for hard hearted bastards.

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  39. Southern Raider (1,831 comments) says:

    What’s the chances the alleged killer was on bail?

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  40. kowtow (8,524 comments) says:

    …..or parole?

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  41. cricko (330 comments) says:

    When a person is arrested for murder and they are found to be wearing a bracelet taken from a
    victim who was raped a week or so earlier would that fact be admissable at trial ?

    Southern Raider/kowtow…every chance.

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  42. fernglas (157 comments) says:

    The reasons for suppression can be manifold. Often it is granted almost automatically at first call to hold the position. It may be that other cases are pending. It may be to allow relatives to be advised. Quite commonly it is because there is a risk that publication might cause unfairness at trial. An example is where identification may be at issue; that is often a reason for image suppression. Another is that the offender is so notorious that publication of name will lead to inevitable discovery of potentially inadmissible previous offending. Unless there are genuine issues of trial fairness, interim suppression is rarely continued these days and the courts are quite hot on that.

    Quite how it follows that suppression is unfair to the public is beyond me. I don’t see how Mr Couch’s proposition works. If non-publication on a previous occasion has left the community vulnerable to repeat offending, then I agree, the earlier suppression cannot have been justified. But to say that it is unfair to the community after an offence has been committed and the alleged offender is in custody simply doesn’t make sense.

    The 3 strikes debate is a whole different issue, really, and is only speculative until the details of any previous offending are known. And yes, that will not normally be until the trial is over. Given some of the knee jerk reactions I have read above, I now understand better why that is still the case in this country.

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  43. Chuck Bird (4,897 comments) says:

    “They are immune to understanding normal human emotions.”

    That is a generalization but certainly true in a lot of cases – after all they were lawyer first and many of them are immune to understanding normal human emotions.

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  44. Chuck Bird (4,897 comments) says:

    “When a person is arrested for murder and they are found to be wearing a bracelet taken from a
    victim who was raped a week or so earlier would that fact be admissable at trial ?”

    Like the watch that helped convict David Tamahere? That is why we must keep the two issues separate – the sentence and the presumption of innocence. In the case of Tamahere an other like him it is not just about them but other potential victims if the police have the wrong person and more rapes and/or murders are committed.

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  45. doggone7 (808 comments) says:

    kowtow

    The judges play it according to the rules they have been given by us. They are there to make ‘judge’ments according to the licence they have been given.

    If we don’t like that, we give them new rules. I often wonder if the inexplicable, savage crimes that happen were perpetrated on the families of judges and senior politicians would laws and judgements be different.
    I also wonder what our society would be like if cretins ran things with the attitudes they express like “shoot first ask questions later, guilty until proven innocent, lock every accused person up until the case is heard and lock anyone found guilty up for the rest of their life or simply put them to death.

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  46. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    Hi David,

    Well done. You are correct that i misspoke. Judicial discretion is not removed, however it is curtailed (severely, i would argue).

    //Please do tell us where judicial discretion is “removed”…The most that can be said is judicial discretion is curtailed at stage 3….and there are several hundred bloody good reasons why we did that//

    Can you please outline some of these reasons (preferably with data that links the operation of the three strikes regime to these positive outcomes you speak of)?

    I note that you chose not to address my earlier request for evidence, does this amount to a concession?

    I am also interested to know about your position on whether or not the legislation acts as a deterrence (preferably with supplementary evidence).

    Martin:

    //You a mixing things up there.
    This has nothing to do about liberty from the govt.//

    This is indeed an issue that falls on the liberty/security spectrum. The judicial branch, while subordinate to the legislative and executive branches, functions as a “check” in the system (by virtue of its independence, for example our constitution provides this branch with protections from actions of the legislative/executive). Influential jurists have theorized that it contains the power of upholding fundamental values (though this is highly controversial). The passing of any legislation which removes this independence of the judiciary, however slightly, in this case, by curtailing its discretionary role, deserves the utmost scrutiny as it effectively strikes at the heart of the operation of our system of government.

    //Can you please give me one instance when you consider it not warranted? And in NZ please
    thanks//

    I note your qualification “and in NZ” which implies that you are aware of the injustices that have occurred elsewhere. The legislation was only passed (relatively) recently and the outcomes are yet to be seen here.

    My scrutiny is based on three platforms:

    A) Bad outcomes overseas
    B) Lack of scientific evidence of its benefits
    C) Erosion of liberty as expressed above

    I am open to changing my mind on this however i have yet to encounter a sufficiently compelling explanation as to why this legislation is necessary/beneficial.

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  47. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    It’s very standard for name suppression to be imposed at first appearance for serious offending for two main reasons:
    1. Allow the defendant to have a lawyer assigned who can review the case and argue whether name suppression should remain – often for fair trial considerations
    2. Police are continuing investigations and believe publicly naming the defendant at that stage could prejudice those investigations.

    Seems pretty reasonable to me. Still why have rational debate when the media can pimp a victim for a headline?

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  48. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    Cricko:

    //where did you read about the “spectrum” you state we have here with liberty at one end and security at the other ?

    or…

    Did you come up with that gem all by yourself ?//

    The spectrum is well documented, please feel free to do your own research.

    I would imagine that its fairly self evident, consider this hypothetical, the government can guarantee your protection from criminals, but it will do this by locking everyone up in a cell and monitoring them (this would be an example of the extreme end of the security side of the spectrum). We obviously consider this scenario to be highly undesirable, so we walk back from there.

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  49. cricko (330 comments) says:

    mike tan says,
    “i mispoke.”

    Translation, “i was talking absolute crap, straight out of my arse.”

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  50. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    It is subjective, but in my view, the “you’re bullshitting” response is only warranted were there absolutely no impact on judicial discretion and i am implying that there is (this is not the case here).

    Lastly, there is nothing stopping you from providing actual content (for example, your thoughts on the issues being discussed).

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  51. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Mike Tan
    Yes my qualification of it only being in NZ is because i have heard of it being disproportionate overseas, so that was why.
    Perhaps overseas law does not have the last bit that David Garret says about it being manifestly unjust.

    As to your ABC
    A) Bad outcomes overseas
    B) Lack of scientific evidence of its benefits
    C) Erosion of liberty as expressed above

    A: Ive given my answer above to A
    B: I think from your previous answer saying that the law has being only enacted here recently so we dont know the outcome of it would thus be my answer to B.
    C: And liberty is based on our democracy, if people didnt want it we could vote in a party who wanted to get rid of it.
    Im unsure if any party has included that in their campaign manifest which indicates to me most people dont see it as an issue

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  52. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    Hi Martin,

    Thank you for engaging respectfully. It is a rarity on these online forums (and in general, i think).

    The question remains that with or without the “manifestly unjust” provision, if there isn’t any evidence showing the legislation to be beneficial (conversely, there is evidence showing it to lead to negative outcomes), then what exactly is the point of having the legislation in the first place? I am highly suspicious of politicians who appeal to emotion to promote policy, i recall the ACT party consistently resorting to this during the time this policy was drafted. Even in the original post, David links the emotions that are felt with what happened to Blessie with a perceived benefit in the three strikes policy. The layman would interpret this as “wow i feel so bad for blessie, i support three strikes!”, ignoring any analysis over the actual function of the law (and its necessity, by overlooking historical trends).

    There needs to be a evidence based approach to policy. Knee jerk reactions should be avoided wherever possible, especially so with significant pieces of legislation like three strikes.

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  53. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Mike Tan
    I suppose we will see what happens when the infos out, if he could of being in longer under three strikes then i will just have to say im glad that law is enforce now.

    I cant remember the debate around the time this law came in and the negative outcomes discussed about it, but i respect your decision to weigh that up for yourself.

    For me i cant think of any major negative apart from the extreme costs it is to keep people imprisoned.
    The only other reason why id be against it is because the offender may do their utmost to avoid arrest if they knew that their behaviour in coming forward wouldnt affect their sentence. But that doesnt outweigh to me the benefit of having such people off the streets for longer.

    To be frank i havent heard any constant complaining abut the law, so was quite surprised by your post turning up but good on you for fighting your corner. Happy to be persuaded the other way if any major negative outcomes in NZ can be provided.

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  54. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    I missed the editing window, but i wanted to add that there is also a potential conflict of interest (well documented in the United States) where harsher sentencing and privatization of prisons (often both of these are supported by the same political party) leads to a highly lucrative industry that profits from incarceration (and in some cases, lobbies the government for harsher sentencing to increase profits). This isn’t conspiracy, for example there is a good study (commissioned by a highly respectable organization) that can be found here:

    https://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/banking-bondage-private-prisons-and-mass-incarceration

    For this reason, three strikes policy deserves to be heavily scrutinized as it has the potential to lead to a disastrous outcome. I do not propose that those that support the policy have a hidden motive, I believe they are principled and well intentioned, my skepticism only arises because of my knowledge of the situation in the USA.

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  55. kowtow (8,524 comments) says:

    cricko

    Re the bracelet. Yes it would be admissable. But there’s masses of rules around the presentation of evidence in court.

    The rules are there to ensure the accused gets a fair trial.Which is of course only right and proper.

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  56. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Rex: although my saying this will give rise to the usual idiot comments, I agree that it is entirely consistent with the presumption of innocence that EVERYONE should have name suppression until convicted….IIRC the 1972 Labour government introduced this, but it was repealed when Muldoon got in in 1975…

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  57. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    And when it is revealed that the killer was well known to Police and the Courts and was a repeat offender let off by a soft cock Judge who wringed their hands and lamented about how sad it was that ‘society” had failed this poor individual………..

    Oh I forgot. Judges never get it wrong do they. And of course they ‘only’ administer the law. So why do we need them if its a paint by numbers judicial process that they the Judges have no real decision making ability?

    So they hear both sides of the case then look at their Rule Book and Bobs your Uncle all done!!!!!

    Spare me. Fact is Judges are not to blame. They hear such heinous cases day in and day out and so get immune and numb to the realities. So they loose contact with the real citizenry.

    That’s my point.

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  58. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    On a much lighter note, isn’t the information age great in that i can write a critique of legislation and within an hour, i (a nobody citizen) have a response from the author of the bill?

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  59. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    MIke Tan
    What would be better would be if you could prove him wrong… doubting that you can so far….

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  60. J Bloggs (241 comments) says:

    Rex @ 1.16pm

    “A judge should have the discretion as to whether the jury, before reaching a verdict, are informed of the accused’s prior convictions, with the presumption being that, unless there’s a very good reason not to, they should.”

    The reason that a defendant’s previous convictions are withheld from the jury, is that the jury is supposed to come to a verdict on the case based on the evidence presented to them in court. I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know if a prior history of offending is admissible as evidence – if it is admissible, then its up to the prosecution to introduce it. If not, then it should not be allowed to sway the jury’s consideration of the case at hand.

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  61. cricko (330 comments) says:

    mike tan @ 2.28

    Your imagination is playing tricks on you son.

    What is the name of your lecturer at Waikato that is filling your young head with such abstact garbage ?
    Obviously someone has you so totally confused that you would produce such nonsense as the last paragraph
    of your contribution above.

    FYI mike. When you start from a hypothetical proposition that is patent crap and ‘walk back’ from there you are still standing in crap.
    (almost up to the neck in your case.)

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  62. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    He only responded to my statement about judicial discretion (which in hindsight, can read as i intended in that it removes the level of discretion). I am unaware of any claim he has made in here.

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  63. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Mike Tan: I see you are relatively new here….welcome…but FFS make your posts a bit clearer, and you might get better responses…

    But back to your reply to me…How can you say judicial discretion is “severely curtailed” when at stages one and two the Judge has absolute control of how long the villain stays inside, and at stage three he decides whether or not the sentence is served without parole?

    There is a considerable irony here in that, because of judicial leniency, six second strikers are currently “on the street” and thus facing the unarguably harsh provisions of a strike three sentence if or when – and lets hope it’s “if” – they next offend. When the law passed, we estimated it would take 5-7 years for the first third striker to be sentenced. Instead, it will probably happen this year, four years after the law passed.

    Of course I cannot provide links to the hundreds of cases pre 3S where a villain was on the street when he should have been in jail…but let me say this: one of the reasons the PM agreed to there being no minimum sentence as a qualifier for a strike was a list of about 40 names our researchers came up with who had got less than three years inside for very nasty repeat offending…Because of the Privacy Act such lists are very difficult to compile…You have to scroll through the newspapers and try and pick them up..

    Yes, I DO believe the law is having a general deterrent effect (deterrence of others from what happens to individuals)…but no-one will ever be able to show that is the case…As anyone who knows stats knows, it is difficult if not impossible to prove a negative…I guess you could ask the 4000 odd first strikers who have not committed a second strike offence why they haven’t, but their answers would be very unreliable…and none of our academics would dare do such a study lest too many villains cited 3S as their reason for not continuing to offend…Such a result would be anathema to Professor Pratt and his mates…

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  64. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    Cricko:

    I bring your attention to the current NSA surveillance debate, the balance between liberty and security is a prevalent theme there, hopefully it will help you understand the concept.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2013-12-12_rg_final_report.pdf

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  65. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    MIke Tan
    interested if you can answer David and hold off on the Liberty thing for a post or two

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  66. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    ….And further to the question of the effectiveness of the law, we are already seeing the phenomenon which occurred twenty odd years ago when 3S laws were passed in about half the states in the US, and crime fell precipitately thereafter…American academics embarked on what the late Dr. Dennis Dutton described as a “feverish search” for the “real” reason – any reason would do, so long as it wasn’t the obvious one.

    About six weeks ago there was a feature in the “Listener” which purported to show an overwhelming (93%) causative relationship between blood lead levels and crime rates 20 years later…This same “lead in petrol” argument was made in the US…along with more readily available abortions and God knows what else…

    The “more readily available abortions” argument comes from a paper by Stephen Levitt, the author of “Freakonomics”…What those citing Levitt never say is that of the six factors that he says caused the precipitate drop in crime in the 1990’s in the US, more readily available abortions is the weakest factor of six….the strongest two are more comprehensive policing and longer sentences…

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  67. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your welcome. I appreciate your responses.

    //But back to your reply to me…How can you say judicial discretion is “severely curtailed” when at stages one and two the Judge has absolute control of how long the villain stays inside, and at stage three he decides whether or not the sentence would be served without parole?//

    The word “severe” is subjective and i concede that i am strongly supportive of an independent judiciary and this likely biases my view on what is “severe” and what isn’t. I consider any encroachment to be serious. I agree that the “manifestly unjust” provision makes our law superior to similar experiments elsewhere (though i dislike that this only applies to a non-parole period). I am interested in your view of this clause (specifically whether you are supportive of it or not).

    //There is a considerable irony here in that, because of judicial leniency, six second strikers are currently “on the street” and thus facing the unarguably harsh provisions of a strike three sentence if or when – and lets hope it’s “if” – they next offend. When the law passed, we estimated it would take 5-7 years for the first third striker to be sentenced. Instead, it will probably happen next year, four years after the law passed.

    Of course I cannot provide links to the hundreds of cases pre 3S where a villain was on the street when he should have been in jail…but let me say this: one of the reasons the PM agreed to there being no minimum sentence as a qualifier for a strike was a list of about 40 names our researchers came up with who had got less than three years inside for very nasty repeat offending…Because of the Privacy Act such lists are very difficult to compile…//

    Do you agree that we already have existing tools, for example, preventative detention, that could sufficiently address this issue? Was the primary motivation behind the drafting of the legislation the perceived leniency on the part of the judges? If the voting public believed the judges were being too lenient, then why couldn’t existing tools (such as modifications of existing mechanisms) be favored over the entry of an entirely new system (which is documented to have lead to highly negative outcomes elsewhere)? Unless the existing avenues can be proven inadequate, 3S seems like a whole lot of unnecessary risk.

    There are a whole lot of worms opened with the policy (i will not waste your time outlining them here as they have been brought up and discussed before as i trust you are well aware*) and as you said, measuring its operation is incredibly difficult. I fail to understand why other avenues were disregarded.

    *for anyone unaware of the main critiques of 3S in the NZ context:

    http://maximorgnz.sites.acclipse.com/assets/784b3297-5838-4947-951f-363c11087a4a/files/docs/three_strikes_occasional_paper.pdf

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  68. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    //….And further to the question of the effectiveness of the law, we are already seeing the phenomenon which occurred twenty odd years ago when 3S laws were passed in about half the states in the US, and crime fell precipitately thereafter…American academics embarked on what the late Dr. Dennis Dutton described as a “feverish search” for the “real” reason – any reason would do, so long as it wasn’t the obvious one.//

    To state that your claim that 3S was the “obvious one” is highly dubious is not political or subjective, it is the accepted standard to scrutinize data in this way:

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

    It is however possible to control the data to reach a less dubious conclusion.

    The implementation of “tough on crime” policy (hereafter referred to as the Crimes Model) was linked with a drastic increase in crime across the board following the Reagan era. There are examples of nations which have moved away from the crimes model approach experiencing reductions in offending rates (e.g. Nordic states). We can fight each sides statistics out, but i think its reasonable to conclude that whichever side you take, it is highly dubious* (which links back to my question about the reasoning behind the introduction of 3S in the first place, as opposed to utilization of existing avenues e.g. preventative detention).

    *though many academics argue that the data linking the Crimes Model approach with negative outcomes is conclusive (however, for sake of argument, i am disregarding this view and taking an “unnecessary risk” position)

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  69. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    To just poke my nose in here, preventative detention is available anytime so doesnt need to be on the third strike, it requires many prerequisities though to have it imposed which is why three strikes is a useful measure to ensure criminals have to endure a max sentence when they are becoming recidivists but still giving them the promise of release eventually.

    Using preventative detention as an alterative Mike would be a much bigger infringement on anyones liberty which seems is what you a arguing against.

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  70. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    Martin:

    If i am understanding correctly, you are favoring the 3S approach as it offers less barriers than preventative detention, which implies that 3S is the greater infringement on liberty.

    The main point i am making here is that we already had a mechanism in place, perhaps some tweaking was needed to it, but rather than utilizing it we introduced an entirely new engine, one that is highly controversial overseas, and i fail to see the rationale behind it.

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  71. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Mike
    No, i like them both in combination, if they dont meet the thresh hold for preventative detention then if they reoffend the 3S will eventually get them.
    I dont care about the liberty of people who commit serious crimes, i do care about my own liberty and others in NZ but if they commit a serious crime then they lose that and i dont want any wishy washy judge giving them an easy ride, which is why i support the democratic law change for 3S

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  72. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    I would argue that preventive detention is superior (not only because it already existed within our system and therefore there was no additional risk by exploring a new avenue as seen with 3S) but because it continually assesses the offender rather than a blanket maximum sentence, which places a greater burden on the state to justify the incarceration, making the system superior from a individual rights v state power perspective.

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  73. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Mike: Shorter is better man!

    I will address your major points in the order you make them.

    The Bill as first drafted by me did not contain the “manifestly unjust” provision giving the Judge an option at stage three. That provision was proposed by the Nats after the Bill was taken off Simon Power – who had been playing games with us – and given to Judith Collins. We were quite happy with that proviso which, together with the requirement for warnings to be given at stages one and two, are two of the major differences between our law and that of California. The differences were quite deliberate.

    Yes, the law was a considered response to judicial leniency. While preventive detention was – and remains – available, as someone else has pointed out it carries a whole pile of conditions before it can be imposed, and in any event in our opinion was not used anywhere near as often as it should be.

    Three strikes is deliberately simple in that the consequences of continued violent offending lead are exponentially longer sentences. Our many opponents never quite seemed to “get” that the disparity in sentencing they kept bleating about was entirely intentional and meant to send a clear message: keep doing this and you will go to jail for longer and longer periods.

    Oh dear…I have just seen your answer to martin that you fail to see the rationale behind 3S…perhaps I am wasting my time engaging with you…

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  74. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    Nobody (well very few) care about the liberty of the offender, its just that there aren’t two classes of people, perhaps the main thing that makes our law superior, respected and capable of providing the conditions for a mature democracy like NZ is that it applies equally to all, so if you favor something for yourself, you should favor it for your enemy.

    It is easy to morally justify taking away freedoms/rights from despicable people, it needs to be remembered though that it affects everyone.

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  75. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Mike you said this:
    “but because it continually assesses the offender rather than a blanket maximum sentence, which places a greater burden on the state to justify the incarceration, making the system superior from a individual rights v state power perspective.”

    Thats exactly the point here, the state can assess it wrong, the judges too, what has being released so far is that this person is as noted by David Farrar above, very very well known to authorities.

    I much prefer them being behind lock and key than risk the state assessing someone wrong

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  76. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Mike Tan at 431
    Im sure everyone here would say the law applies equally to them too.
    Are you on your second offence or something?

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  77. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    David: I understand the rationale, i just disagree with it.

    I have to run for a while, but will be back a bit later. Thanks for the responses, much appreciated.

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  78. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ martinh (1,107 comments) says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    The problem with preventative detention is that Judges are very reluctant to give it as a sentence.

    I don’t know if you have ever read a Master thesis prepared by a Daniel Rimmer, in 2011, on the SST and their penal populist discourse, but it makes for interesting reading and presents some good information regarding the organisation and how they have influenced the punitive penal trends in New Zealand.

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  79. cricko (330 comments) says:

    mike tan @4.19 states that he fails to see the rationale behind the 3S legislation.

    Sadly, he never will regardless of how much explanation and logic he is presented with.
    He des not want to understand.
    (there are none so blind as those who will not see)

    This bloke would argue the hind leg off a donkey and seems to be quite good at answering a question with another
    question. He is cheeky enough to provide a link to wikipedia so others can bring themselves up to speed with the obvious.

    Good luck to correspondents who choose to engage with him and go around in never ending circles.

    Good luck to you too mike, and good luck to your family.

    Ps Who is your teacher/lecturer ?

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  80. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Judith
    No sorry i havent, but id agree from what ive seen that judges would be reticent to do it

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  81. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Mike: “There aren’t two classes of people”….this is something fed to the young, so I am concluding – as others have – that you are a young chap (Please tell us if we are right)

    The lefties see criminals as some sort of disadvantaged group who are virtually compelled by their circumstances – upbringing education, race etc. – to be violent offenders. They ascribe absolutely no role to Choice: every criminal is also a victim. I have even heard the idiot Minister for Courts say the same thing.

    Sorry old son, but there ARE at least two classes of people: people like you and your fellow students, and the vast majority of the population who will never offend, and see working for a living as a given. Then there is the small group who see the rest of us as mugs; who think society owes them a living, and they will take what they want any way they can. A small subgroup of that group – or class if you like – think violence is totally acceptable, and is in fact the default response to conflict, and not a last resort. It is that “class” that 3S is aimed at.

    Judith: Yes, I have seen that thesis…the poor chap is almost beside himself over how effective the SST has been…and led by a FARMER FFS…a person with no tertiary education! Shock! Horror!

    This is indirectly why the lefties have always reserved special venom for me…while they can dismiss McVicar as being an ignorant cocky, I have an honours degree in law…makes sneering dismissal a bit more difficult…

    (as soon as I see words like “discourse” I pretty well lose interest…)

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  82. Longknives (4,767 comments) says:

    Great response to the ‘Crim-Huggers’ David!
    By the way was your Law Degree from Otago?

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  83. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    ‘Knives: No…I went to Canterbury…the law school which at that time (20 years ago) employed as lecturers the authors of all the texts used in NZ

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  84. Steve (North Shore) (4,565 comments) says:

    Why are most here giving the alleged killer so much oxygen? It’s almost like you think the alleged murderer might get mis treated, and become a victim for being a naughty boy. There is a VICTIM involved in case you had not noticed.
    What a bunch of corksoakers.
    RIP to the lady that smiles

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  85. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Steve.
    Hope you dont include me into that, id hang the bastard who did it myself

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  86. Longknives (4,767 comments) says:

    Canterbury is a good University- Not as good as the mighty Otago mind.
    I didn’t study law but had a family friend who worked at the faculty through the 80s…(I thought that might be your era)

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  87. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Steve; Presuming there is good evidence that he did it, no sympathy from me either…and in fact while I now don’t think CP as a matter of public policy would work, that doesn’t mean I would have any problem with a scrote like this guy getting a long drop…but then I’m a very humane chap; others would think he deserved to strangle…

    ‘Knives: we are straying off topic here, but in my time (late 80’s) Otago law school was where you went if you couldn’t get in anywhere else…or you wanted to be a dirty girl, as far away from Daddy in Auckland as possible…

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  88. Longknives (4,767 comments) says:

    Hah! Plenty of them still there in the mid 90’s as well….

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  89. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    I had better get a grip on myself here (so to speak) Nothing like what used to be called a “Sloane Ranger” (In the UK) talking dirty to one…if we ever meet, ask me to tell you about “Stu”…the dirtiest bastard among us…

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  90. Anthony (796 comments) says:

    For immigrants it should be a one strike law – even if it’s just a breach of a protection order – one strike and you get sent back to where you came from!

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  91. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Anthony: Actually I don’t disagree with that approach…a New Zealand passport is a highly prized thing, and one that should readily be removed if an immigrant is convicted of a strike offence…in fact I would go further, and set the bar at “any offence carrying a term of imprisonment”…

    That is now what the yanks do: any felony conviction and you are off to your home country as soon as you have served your sentence…

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  92. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the response.

    //Mike: “There aren’t two classes of people”….this is something fed to the young, so I am concluding – as others have – that you are a young chap (Please tell us if we are right)

    The lefties see criminals as some sort of disadvantaged group who are virtually compelled by their circumstances – upbringing education, race etc. – to be violent offenders. They ascribe absolutely no role to Choice: every criminal is also a victim. I have even heard the idiot Minister for Courts say the same thing.//

    I don’t know why my view that opposes 3S is getting me labelled as a “lefty” here. I dislike the terms anyway, i have my grievances with both the left and the right and am open to changing my positions as i learn more. I would say that socially i am to the left (assuming that “left” implies minimal government intrusion) and economically i am somewhere in the middle (i started out a Ludwig von Mises/Friedman guy and then drifted toward Keynes and then back toward the middle around the time of the US crisis).

    //Sorry old son, but there ARE at least two classes of people: people like you and your fellow students, and the vast majority of the population who will never offend, and see working for a living as a given. Then there is the small group who see the rest of us as mugs; who think society owes them a living, and they will take what they want any way they can. A small subgroup of that group – or class if you like – think violence is totally acceptable, and is in fact the default response to conflict, and not a last resort. It is that “class” that 3S is aimed at.//

    Disagree. This seems to imply some sort of intrinsic flaw, i would disagree given that there is mobility and rehabilitation, while not possible for some, is proven to be possible for enough people for such a static view to be dismissed. Taking your view to its logical conclusion, if there is just no hope for this subset, why even have 3 strikes? Wouldn’t the logical outcome of this line of thinking entail throwing the book after the first violent offense?

    //Why are most here giving the alleged killer so much oxygen? It’s almost like you think the alleged murderer might get mis treated, and become a victim for being a naughty boy. There is a VICTIM involved in case you had not noticed.
    What a bunch of corksoakers.
    RIP to the lady that smiles//

    I personally don’t give a rats arse about this offender and find it annoying that being a staunch social liberal gets one branded a “crim hugger”. To a large extent we are all social liberals on a global spectrum (assuming none of you favor a criminal justice system like the one in Saudi Arabia), we are just differing at the margins. I assume all of you favor things like due process, presumption of innocence, humane punishment and believe that rehabilitation is possible (and desirable).

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  93. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    mike: You have avoided the question about your age…and yes this IS relevant…whoever it was (Mark Twain I think) who said “if you are not a socialist at 18 you have no heart; if you are still one at 21 you have no brain” was absolutely right…I myself was once a member of the SUP, although that was mostly to piss my father off rather than because I believed their dogma…

    Until you have seen someone smash a glass on the side of a pool table and then thrust the broken end into someone’s face, you cannot really say you have seen humans at their worst… and even that is nothing compared to a gang rape of a young woman (Google “Ambury park rape”)

    Graeme Burton apparently described with some relish how he had “gutted like a deer” one Karl Kuckenbecker, a poor sod who just happened to be mountain biking in the Hutt Valley when Burton came upon him…Do you really believe Burton and William Bell are the same as you? And entitled to the same “human rights”?

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  94. Longknives (4,767 comments) says:

    “I assume all of you favor things like due process, presumption of innocence, humane punishment and believe that rehabilitation is possible (and desirable).”

    I have no problem with due process and presumption of innocence- But if you think that the scum that rape and murder can be ‘rehabilitated’ you are living in Disneyland mate (or still at University?)

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  95. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    One of the most chilling experiences I had as an MP was a visit to a Youth Justice Facility outside Christchurch….it catered for offenders either on remand or sentenced who were under 17…I engaged a few in conversation….one threatened to “fuck me up” because I disagreed with him on how his iwi had allegedly been disadvantaged…

    The most chilling thing was the staff – great people, clearly dedicated to trying to make a difference – who could each point to individuals and say “She is going to the Big House [adult prison] He might make it; He’s going to the Big House..”

    Mike, if you don’t know that by about 10 or maybe 12 the damage is done, and the road ahead is pretty well clear, then it really is not worth trying to talk to you…

    So have you ever seen someone thrust the broken end of a glass in someone’s face? I have seen it only once…and I literally shit myself at the barbarism of it…

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  96. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    Knives:

    You have to be more specific. Someone who murders in self-defense isn’t the same as someone who murders in cold blood. I agree that cold blood murderers and rapists aren’t likely to be rehabilitated. There is a changing of goal posts here, David earlier mentioned violence in general, now we are talking murderers. I think someone who committed an assault can be rehabilitated.

    David:

    I earlier mentioned that i am voting for the first time, which implies my age, i realize that you aren’t requesting information as much as you are engaging in showmanship. Well played i guess.

    //Mike, if you don’t know that by about 10 or maybe 12 the damage is done, and the road ahead is pretty well clear, then it really is not worth trying to talk to you…//

    Earlier you stated that a subset have “no hope” alluding to the fact that most who come from rough backgrounds do not grow into criminals and therefore those who do have no excuse (which seems to contradict this quote, unless you are implying something other than a broken family by “damage is done”).

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  97. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    Killer’s/Rapist’s need to be exterminated. Death penalty needs to be re-instated.

    Judges need to be reined in so they have no liberal options to make excuses for the shit that is permeating New Zealand society.

    Judges shouldn’t be selected from the ranks of the legal profession but from ordinary citizens. Preferably citizens who have experienced violence themselves so they have a proper perspective on it.

    Minimum penalty for any crime involving lethal violence should be twenty years served in a prison dug in a hole in the ground at Waiouru or similar. Survivors either cured by their experience there or executed immediately for the next offence.

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  98. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    David,

    I think that Johns approach is more consistent with your reasoning about recidivism. Why even bother with 3S? Did you settle for 3 for the sake of politics? Isn’t 3S two victims that could have been saved?

    //Killer’s/Rapist’s need to be exterminated. Death penalty needs to be re-instated.

    Judges need to be reined in so they have no liberal options to make excuses for the shit that is permeating New Zealand society.

    Judges shouldn’t be selected from the ranks of the legal profession but from ordinary citizens. Preferably citizens who have experienced violence themselves so they have a proper perspective on it.

    Minimum penalty for any crime involving lethal violence should be twenty years served in a prison dug in a hole in the ground at Waiouru or similar. Survivors either cured by their experience there or executed immediately for the next offence.//

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  99. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Mike: No, I missed your statement about voting for the first time…so no gamesmanship from me…And good on you for engaging with us crusty old curmudgeons…

    I will treat your question about “why not lock them up after one strike?” as being serious…No, I truly think people should be given a chance…THREE strikes – given that a strike is an offence of serious violence carrying at least seven years in prison – is arguably very generous…I am assuming you are not a law student, but the offence of “assault” has a huge number of variants…common assault – you shoving me in the course of an argument – along a pretty long continuum to assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm… As the 3S law stands, you have to do the latter THREE TIMES before you are subjected to the full force of the law. which, as others have noted, simply means the maximum penalty for that offence which the Crimes Act 1961 prescribes…please tell me what problem you have with that regime?

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  100. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Mike Tan
    To be a judge you need to know extensively the rules of law and legal process, something it takes years to do

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  101. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    Jesus you’re a softie wanker David!…..Never give a fuckin loser a chance! :)

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  102. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    To be a Judge you just have to know if a turd is telling you the truth or if he is a lying bastard martinh.

    It’s not hard to know that where the crims are concerned it’s the bloody lawyer’s that you cant trust! :)

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  103. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    //Mike: No, I missed your statement about voting for the first time…so no gamesmanship from me…And good on you for engaging with us crusty old curmudgeons…//

    My pleasure. I mostly took an interest in US politics and it was actually this blog that got me interested in NZ politics, so perhaps i am a bit biased toward the right (and in denial?). I was a silent observer back in the days when everyone would poke fun at philu (or does that still happen?). I realize this is pretty unusual for someone my age, but to me, this is more interesting than other things.

    //I will treat your question about “why not lock them up after one strike?” as being serious…No, I truly think people should be given a chance…THREE strikes – given that a strike is an offence of serious violence carrying at least seven years in prison – is arguably very generous…I am assuming you are not a law student, but the offence of “assault” has a huge number of variants…common assault – you shoving me in the course of an argument – along a pretty long continuum to assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm… As the 3S law stands, you have to do the latter THREE TIMES before you are subjected to the full force of the law. which, as others have noted, simply means the maximum penalty for that offence which the Crimes Act 1961 prescribes…please tell me what problem you have with that regime?//

    Question was sincere. My main problems with it are that it caps the discretionary role of the judge on the third strike (something i am strongly against as stated earlier) and introduces risk without demonstrating value (this is in reference to the application of 3S elsewhere having dubious results, i concede that the implementation here is in its very early days).

    Furthermore, I am abreast of the situation in the US (though you may disagree, i believe the CCA has made a mockery of their justice system) where mandatory minimums feed fuel into the fire of their mass incarceration problem.

    The system as it is now is one thing, but what is to stop a future government from tweaking with what exactly constitutes a strike-able offense? The Dotcom saga has demonstrated how our system can be manipulated when money is thrown at it — you never know who is going to make their way into the halls of power in the future. Today we can praise the 3S system as potentially preventing the murder of an innocent person, but with a little tinkering, the accused could be anyone. Because we do not have a supreme document that we can rely on to protect fundamental rights (as you know, the BOR is only statutory law), i am very suspicious of anything that empowers the state at the expense of the individual, whoever that individual may be.

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  104. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    Martin:

    I think you misunderstood my quotation of Johnboys comment (which was about judges) as being my own commentary.

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  105. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    Being misunderstood is par for the course here Tan old chap! :)

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  106. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    If you keep your comments short enough to cater for a limited attention span you’ll do better! :)

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  107. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    I note that David said something similar. Will try keep it trim going forward :)

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  108. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Mike
    Yep true i thought it was from you as it wasnt in quotations,
    ive forgotten how to do it you have to do something like blockquote{ fdfs..} to do quotations here and im no techy so dont bother.
    A push button reply with quote on here would be useful

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  109. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    See Mike? martinh is just confusing! :)

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  110. cricko (330 comments) says:

    mike tan

    one last try mate.
    i believe i was the first on this thread to pick up and state the obvious that you had to be a student or a
    person with very little life experience judging by your naive posts.

    Now you have confirmed that i was right, how about confirming which school, or if you made it to uni
    which one and what was the teacher/lecturers name who sowed such ideas in your young mind ?

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  111. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Mike: You make a very good point about the potential “creep” of 3S….in fact when we were getting it through I strongly advocated for including P manufacture and sale as “strike” offences….I was overruled by my fellow MP’s in the ACT caucus on the grounds that we had campaigned on 3S for violent offenders only…my argument – based on information from the Police – that whenever they found P manufacture and sale serious violence was not far away – did not prevail….and in that I think you can find your reassurance…While it is true than any parliamentary majority could potentially add anything to the list of “strike” offences (AND BTW that is another major difference from California; there is absolutely no ambiguity about what offences are “strike” offences) in practice it will be quite difficult to expand 3S from its current ambit…which I THINK you have said you have no great problem with??

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  112. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    He obviously went to a very good University that taught him when he should use capital letters cricko! :)

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  113. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Yes, I have seen that thesis…the poor chap is almost beside himself over how effective the SST has been…and led by a FARMER FFS…a person with no tertiary education! Shock! Horror!

    I think it is far to early to claim ‘success’ David. The statistics to date can hardly be claimed to be a result of S3 legislation, when similar results have been reflected in countries that don’t have a three strikes law. Time will tell.

    I’m not saying it does not have the potential to be successful, but I don’t think you are there yet. I still believe S3 needs tweaking, and that first time young and violent offenders need to be dealt with better etc.

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  114. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Mike Tan

    I suggest you don’t provide any personal information to those seeking it Mike. Many on here aren’t stable enough to be trusted with that information. Telling them could have an adverse reaction on your career. They find anyone with academic qualifications challenging, and feel a desperate need to discredit anyone and everyone that doesn’t share their same opinion.

    I suggest caution.

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  115. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Judith: settle down woman!! I have never seen anyone vilified here for their academic qualifications…Castigated for their lack of life experience maybe…young Mike has told us he is a callow youth…no-one denigrates him for that admission…In fact my respect for him increases as a result..

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  116. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ David Garrett (5,478 comments) says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Yes he is clearly young, which is why I suggested he did not innocently give private information, such as which school and tutor he has. Anyone can use that information against him – not everyone on the internet can be trusted David.

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  117. mike tan (487 comments) says:

    //Mike: You make a very good point about the potential “creep” of 3S….in fact when we were getting it through I strongly advocated for including P manufacture and sale as “strike” offences….I was overruled by my fellow MP’s in the ACT caucus on the grounds that we had campaigned on 3S for violent offenders only…my argument – based on information from the Police – that whenever they found P manufacture and sale serious violence was not far away – did not prevail….and in that I think you can find your reassurance…While it is true than any parliamentary majority could potentially add anything to the list of “strike” offences (AND BTW that is another major difference from California; there is absolutely no ambiguity about what offences are “strike” offences) in practice it will be quite difficult to expand 3S from its current ambit…which I THINK you have said you have no great problem with??//

    I appreciate you providing insight as to the background of the law (and more broadly of your experiences of drafting legislation). We may disagree politically but i can certainly see great value in having an avenue to discuss things with you. On this note, I recall a great poster by the name of F E Smith, does he still provide insight here (or does he have a blog?)

    I see a contradiction with your comment (maybe i am misreading it), you agree that a majority in parliament (and as we can see, $ + MMP can leave the door wide open) can tinker with the 3S law to broaden what counts as a strike, but you end by saying that in practice it would be quite difficult. I think it would be quite easy, given our judiciary is toothless to strike down legislation as being inconsistent with the BOR (or a similar charter of rights). It is easy for some to think of this scenario as being too far fetched to warrant consideration, but anything is possible, especially with things like parliamentary urgency allowing bills to pass through the house quickly.

    Judith:

    Thank you for your advice. I wasn’t planning on revealing anything. I am a nobody anyway.

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  118. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Judith: Young Mike telling us where he goes to school and who his lecturers are is unlikely to cause him any major problem…I respect the man for admitting he is a youngster…who no doubt – notwithstanding his politeness – thinks he knows best and we are a bunch of right wing loonies….

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  119. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    Never be sucked in by a motherly creature with a waist the diameter of the Hindenburg that professes she only has your best virginal interests at heart Mike Tan.

    She’s quite keen on exotic,oriental chaps I believe! :)

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  120. cricko (330 comments) says:

    Judith @ 8.33

    Most humourous post on this thread today, Judith, of all people, declaring that many on this blog are unstable.
    Get the log out of your own eye Judith before you go looking for moats in others eyes.

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  121. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ David Garrett (5,479 comments) says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    David, I would have thought that you, more than anyone, giving your occupation is more than aware that the people you know who post here, are not the only people who read this site. And even then, can you honestly vouch for every single person that posts here, and say that all of them are upstanding members of the community? Good on him for being open and honest, but believe me, the internet is a place to practice restraint, not excess trust.

    LOL I’m yet to find proof that many of you aren’t ‘right wing loonies…’ :P :P

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  122. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Mike: FE Smith is still a contributor here so far as I know…he (or she) is a defence barrister with considerable experience…including with some of the vermin I have referred you to…as far as I know he is still here….but if he has a trial on
    he will be forced to spend most of his effort on that…I suspect he will surface here again…

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  123. nasska (11,589 comments) says:

    FES was here one afternoon about 10 days ago.

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  124. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ cricko (27 comments) says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    If you had a young son, would you advise him to put details which could reveal his identity, on a publicly accessible site on the internet?

    Do you seriously believe that everyone on this site is a fine upstanding member of the community? And… how do you know who is ‘on’ this site?

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  125. nasska (11,589 comments) says:

    ….”Do you seriously believe that everyone on this site is a fine upstanding member of the community”….

    Well, there’s me & JB Judith…..wouldn’t vouch for the rest of them though. :)

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  126. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    FES and I are bloody good mates now Mike. You can trust me more than you can trust the looney fat woman! :)

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  127. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    I’ll put in a good word for you nasska next time FES and I get on the piss! :)

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  128. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ nasska (9,982 comments) says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    I believe that most probably are nasska, but it only takes one, and I would have thought those on here that are parents, would be somewhat concerned about encouraging a young person not to be cautious on the internet.

    Sure we joke among ourselves, but this person has admitted he is young, I am pleased to see he is however mature enough not to answer the request for personal information.

    I’m sure you are a fine upstanding member of the community, but rumour has it Johnboy is more a ‘on his knees’ type of community member.

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  129. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    “FES was here one afternoon about 10 days ago.”

    Banksy nasska?

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  130. nasska (11,589 comments) says:

    ….” but rumour has it Johnboy is more a ‘on his knees’ type of community member.”…..

    He breeds short sheep Judith. :)

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  131. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    That may be so Judith but you can rest assured I’d never get on my knees to give you satisfaction! :)

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  132. nasska (11,589 comments) says:

    ….”Banksy nasska?”….

    Don’t remember JB…..I don’t take a lot of notice of some threads.

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  133. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    Nah just the ‘ten days” bit nasska. Trials been about that long! :)

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  134. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @Johnboy (13,898 comments) says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Johnboy, you seem to presume that one would even want to?

    Lets see, the ol’ boy who doesn’t stink of sheep shyte and isn’t rude and obnoxious, or you? Damn what a choice? :P

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  135. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    Sorry Judith I just assumed that you put yourself about here cause you were a desperate old hag!

    My mistake. :)

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  136. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    Nice to see you quietly working away in the background Minus! :)

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  137. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Johnboy (13,900 comments) says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    I have five children Johnboy and I’m 56 years of age. I haven’t ‘put myself about’ for 36 years – I can’t really see it happening again any time soon.

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  138. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    That would explain the 40″ waist then Judith.

    Some chaps prefer women that resemble blimps of course! :)

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  139. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    They’re usually little blokes from my experience. They like fantasy movies like Moby Dick or Whalerider! :)

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  140. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Johnboy (13,902 comments) says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    What on earth makes you think my waist is 40″? I have a BMI of 25.1, which is .2 over what it should be. I did have Subway for lunch, so that might have changed since this morning, but if it has made my waist 40 inches, I’m suing someone!

    Perhaps you’d like to tell us your BMI and measurements Johnboy, as you’re so obsessed with such things.

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  141. SGA (1,076 comments) says:

    Judith at 9:31 pm

    Perhaps you’d like to tell us your BMI and measurements Johnboy, as you’re so obsessed with such things.

    Not sure asking JB for his measurements is the wisest thing to do?

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  142. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ SGA (594 comments) says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Hmm, perhaps you are right. If I need to know such information (and I doubt I ever will) I shall consult the flock.

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  143. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    All the ladies that I’ve ever had dealings with have told me they were hugely satisfied Judith.

    I don’t worry about all the petty statistics that seem to concern you (and most women I might add)! :)

    However I must point out that despite your advising of young Mike Tan we all know far more about you than we know about him! :)

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  144. SGA (1,076 comments) says:

    Johnboy at 9:52 pm

    All the ladies that I’ve ever had dealings with have told me they were hugely satisfied Judith.

    They were both just probably being polite though. :-)

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  145. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    I suspect, despite your denials, you have this deep seated urge to put yourself about a bit.

    Is the old boy getting a bit like Old Cecil this days? :)

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  146. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    How did you know there were two SGA? :)

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  147. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ johnboy

    All joking aside – I think it is the responsible thing to do, to teach young people not to be too trusting on the internet.

    I’m an ‘old hag’ believe me, I can handle anyone that cares to knock on my door.

    The Ol’ boy hasn’t been too well, even old Cecil would out run him at the moment. :-(

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  148. SGA (1,076 comments) says:

    Johnboy at 9:58 pm

    How did you know there were two SGA?

    I’m a gentleman. I was giving you the benefit of the doubt.

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  149. Johnboy (16,722 comments) says:

    The real worry is all you silly old folk that are too trusting on the internet Judith! :)

    Hope the old boy recovers soon. I won’t knock on your door. I like to be handled gently! :)

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  150. brad123 (18 comments) says:

    The word seems to have spread very quickly about who the alleged killer is. I understand there is a suppression order in place for now, but in the technology age information about offender history is hard to keep secret especially with the internet. The alleged killer is on the SST website it seems, with a photo and full list of previous offenses.

    If the accused pleads not guilty and is sent to trial, and assuming his previous offending history is not disclosed in court to the jury, what is to stop a potential jury member from going online or going on the Sensible Sentencing Trust website and taking a look for themselves? The courts don’t seem to be able to keep up with technology sometimes …

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  151. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    “The brother of the sole survivor of the 2001 Mt Wellington RSA massacre says suppressing the name of the man charged with Blessie Gotingco’s murder isn’t fair on the community.”

    As soon as I read that I thought, Bell’s driver!

    I also thought, now who arranged the meeting between the brother of the sole survivor of the 2001 Mt Wellington RSA massacre and the Herald reporter? The corrupt cops of course. The cops hate name suppression, it makes the demonization of charged persons so much harder.

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  152. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    Kudos to the NZ Police for making a quick arrest. Hardly, a phone call from the “show us your crack” man led them to charged person’s address. Without that phone call plod would still be busy making up a short list of likely candidates for another of their infamous fit-ups.

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  153. goldnkiwi (1,329 comments) says:

    Name suppression just makes others on the SST site become suspect…. I wonder…..

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