Yesterday, ten years after filing a claim against the Corrections Department over their grossly negligent management of the man who killed his wife, Tai Hobson finally received a miserly payout from the government by way of an ex gratia payment – a payment which admits no liability, and establishes no precedent.
“The $300,000 ‘settlement’ to Sue Couch was far too little for the terrible injuries she suffered, and we believe that settlement only occurred because a trial of her case was imminent, and the almost unbelievable negligence of the Probation Service in 2001 – which directly led to the deaths of Tai’s wife and two others – was about to be exposed in open court.” McVicar said.
“These cases, and others pending, are realistically the victims and society fighting back against years of criminal friendly legislation that has exposed innocent members of the public to an unacceptable risk when dangerous offenders are released.”
“Although it is fair to say things have improved considerably since 2001, this payment to Tai is a sobering reminder to the politicians of the inevitable consequence of getting it badly wrong when allowing violent recidivist offenders parole” said McVicar.
“William Bell should never had been anywhere near the Panmure RSA, and thus in a position to kill three people and horrendously injure another, who was clearly never meant to survive. Bell should have been immediately returned to prison when he contemptuously rolled the paper setting out his parole conditions into a ball and threw it at the inexperienced probation officer who was ‘managing’ him” McVicar said.
“While our laws in this area have improved somewhat, someone like Bell who repeated that behaviour on parole would still not be immediately returned to jail as would be the case in other jurisdictions.”
“In New Zealand legislators talk about having a ‘a duty of care’ to the public but when things go wrong they pass the buck and duck for cover, the RSA case is setting a precedent and while no amount of money can replace the lives lost it is the only means the victims’ have of punishing those who have contributed to their horrendous suffering.”
“Tai has endured the ten year struggle for recognition of the Department’s terrible failings remarkably well. We hope this payment – niggardly and far too late as it is – brings some comfort to his twilight years.”
Sensible Sentencing Trust.
(M) 027 248 7919
(W) 06 835 5521