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Your home is your castle

Home invasion is a label used by the public, the Police, New Zealand Lawmakers, the Crown and the Judges to describe a series of crimes committed against victims in their own homes.

Home invasion is actually a combination of the following offences; breaking and entering, aggravated robbery, bodily harm and grievous bodily harm. Aggravated robbery is the legal term used to describe a burglary with the added offence of bodily harm. Bodily harm can be classified as hitting, punching, bashing, kicking and stomping. The next level up from bodily harm is known as grievous bodily harm. Grievous bodily harm is when an offender breaks the skin with some form of weapon such as a knife, a hammer, a screwdriver, a machete or a gun.

Home Invasion, two simple words to cover an array of crimes. When I think about those two words it reminds me of Henk and Beverly Bouma. Henk was a local farmer on their land in Reporoa and Beverly the proud mother of three beautiful children. On the 30th of November 1998 four armed men forced their way into the Bouma’s home. They were tortured, and Beverly Bouma was murdered for no other reason than to have their home ransacked for something to steal (may her soul rest in peace). This awful case shocked the nation.

Your home is your castle, yet it can be so easily broken. The laws around home Invasion are too weak; the penalties need to be harsher. Your home is meant to be a place where you feel safe, a place where you should not feel threatened, harmed or attacked.

A member of my family was attacked in their own home. Two vicious attackers who forced their way into what should have been our place of safety. Two men who for 45 minutes choose to do ALL the nasty crimes that are covered by the words ‘Home Invasion’.

Second chances, yes, we gave them exactly that, in fact we gave the worst offender, a third striker, his 9th chance! What did he do with this 9th chance; he re-offended!

We hear Justice Minister Andrew Little talk about reforming offenders and Restorative Justice. Let’s take it easy on the offenders, let’s try and help them to stop reoffending and let’s lower the prison muster.

Really Mr Little? Everyone bent over backwards for the two offenders who invaded my family members home, but they didn’t bend over backwards to help the victims of their horrific crimes. Seriously the plea bargaining, the criminal lawyers that persuade offenders to plead not guilty, so they can ride the Justice System for 12 months, lining the Lawyers pockets, whilst the victims are put through sheer hell.

Restorative Justice it’s called, and it has not worked, especially for this hard working, 5th generation kiwi family.

My case in point, my girl-friend’s elderly parents deliberately leave their keys in their car now. Their car has already been stolen twice from their home. The keys for the car are left there in the hope that only their vehicle will be stolen. A form of prevention so these nasty low life scumbags won’t break into their home and place them under attack. Seriously what has our society become?

These are our elders who are respected community members, yet preyed upon and are living in constant fear.

I stand up, but I cannot trust the Justice System or the Laws that we live under. Our Justice system is weak. Our Laws are NOT Working.

Hayley Heke