At just 14 years old Haami Hanara is a convicted killer. He murdered Kelly Donner, stabbing him numerous times and then he just left him to die!
The fact that someone as young as Hanara is capable of committing such a brutal and violent act is deeply disturbing and frightening. He is an example of a system desperately in need of an urgent overhaul and tragically it has cost Mr Donner his life. This was not Hanara’s first offence, in fact he was out on bail at the time for other offending.
This reinforces that the current youth justice system is simply not working and no matter what we keep getting hammered down our throats about the youth crime rate dropping and how the system is working, this is another example of it simply not being the case as Hanara became the fourth teenage murderer to be sentenced in Napier over the past 12 months.
Crown Prosecutor Steve Manning told Justice Churchman that the four teenage murderers came from the same area, were in the same demographic, and suffered parental neglect. They were involved at an early age in alcohol and drug consumption and the facts that relate to Hanara’s upbringing are sadly familiar.
We need to stem the rise in the hideously violent acts being perpetrated by such young offenders. To do that we need to focus our energy and resources on rebuilding New Zealand families; we either build families, or we build prisons.
We need to look at their upbringing right from birth and identify and work with at risk families from birth.
We also need to put more focus into programmes that help youth, for example the programme Elliot Ikilei ran for at risk youth in South Auckland and Darroch Ball’s proposed Youth Education Training Initiative (YETI), a course for at risk youth.
Mr Donner should have been allowed to live his life in peace, but instead, the act of a violent out of control 14-year-old stole his future, his tomorrows and his life from him.
The safety of the community must always be the paramount consideration in all decisions to do with the justice system.
Offenders must be held to account for their crimes , the government are focusing their energy on trying to lower the prison muster , by pleasing the community of those incarcerated whilst failing to protect victims and their country.
We are seeing far to many home detention sentences handed out for murder ,the lowest minimum non parole periods , and far to many discounts handed out in sentencing for the offenders past or upbringing. This soft approach on offending is not going to solve anything for a safer community.
The government should be putting their money and resources into working with broken families so this cycle stops instead of holding their expensive meetings to see how disadvantaged our prison muster of Murderers and violent sexual offenders are and how they can make it better for them.
Their focus is on the offender with 46 prior convictions and a life sentence and just leaving the youth offenders lost , out of control – continuing to offend , and not being taught any different.