“Justice by name, not by nature” states Ruth Money Sensible Sentencing Trust National Spokesperson, of Justice Helen Winkelmann’s decision to discharge without conviction the offender charged with the fatal attack on 15 year old schoolboy Stephen Dudley.
The Solicitor General has today announced that “there is no jurisdiction to appeal or review the Judges decision” in this case.
“Despite overwhelming public support for an appeal it appears as if once again the so called Justice system has let down not only Stephen and his family, but also the New Zealand public as a whole” states Money.
“The message is clear: The Chief High Court Judge thinks discharging without conviction a man who attacked a younger, smaller person with a blind-sided and unprovoked punch to the neck, a vulnerable part of the body, followed by a flurry of other punches, is an acceptable response.
“You have to ask yourself if Justice Winkelmann, who is in fact the Chief High Court Judge, engineered her presiding over this case so she could deliver this appalling decision knowing it was unable to be reviewed or appealed” states Money.
“The decision to discharge without conviction fails to uphold the community’s expectations of justice and once again demonstrates the strong systemic preference for the offender vs the victim. Who holds the Judges in New Zealand accountable for their decisions, when the ‘leadership’ in the form of the Chief High Court Judge hands down injustice like this?” asks Money.
“As the Chief High Court Judge you expect leadership from Justice Winkelmann, however this decision simply sets a sad example to the bar of what to do to avoid being appealed. It is an absolute outrage” asserts Money.
SST has been lobbying for Judicial Accountability for a number of years now.
“We are seeing an increase in ludicrous sentencing and discharge decisions of late, and yet there seems to be nowhere for the public and victims to turn to. Judicial decisions should remain responsive to, and reflective of contemporary public expectations at all times. Justice Winkelmann’s decision to discharge offender ‘M’ does nothing to deter nor denounce violence in our community, in fact, it will only encourage it by setting this precedent.” states Money.
“Upon detailed review of this case SST and in fact the public think the Judge got it badly wrong in this case and yet currently in New Zealand Judges cannot be disciplined or removed for poor performance so it remains a mystery how they are held accountable for their decisions.”
“If the Solicitor General has no jurisdiction to review this case then we truly do have an absolute travesty on our hands and the public of New Zealand are quite right to be outraged. Surely common sense would dictate that you can’t acquit someone who has pled guilty to an offence? It’s completely contradictory. Sadly common sense is not that common” says Money.
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