Offenders discounted….. Victims forgotten

What a week it has been in the Courts.

A 14 year old was sentenced for murder. A recidivist drink driver was sentenced to home detention. A 39 year old woman was sentenced for a brutal and violent home invasion. All crimes committed against more innocent victims!

Without exception in all of these cases, justice has not been done! Our Justice System has once again failed the Victims.

Gavin Hawthorn was sentenced on his 12th drink driving charge. He received a pitiful sentence of 6 months home detention, 180 hours community service and disqualified from holding or obtaining a license for 2 years.

Hawthorn has a long history of horrendous offending. He has more than 60 prior convictions including burglary, assault and disorderly behaviour. But the worst offences, and something vitally important is that he is responsible for the death of 4 innocent victims.

An opinion piece written by Paul Little, made Hawthorn out to be a victim, saying he was probably offered some rehabilitative therapy in custody but it clearly hasn’t worked, but I suggest Paul needs to do his homework, as Hawthorn had attended a rehabilitation programme in prison but “could not complete” the full programme. So Hawthorn chose not to complete this program.

Paul says in his opinion piece

“Unfortunately, the sort of rehabilitative programmes that work, both in and out of prisons, are not popular thanks to a public mood that’s been inflamed by Money and the likes of the Sensible Sentencing Trust.”

What an Interesting misconception this is.

Paul Little is obviously not up to date with the government’s new trend of saying our rehabilitation programmes are not good enough and are not working

Both the Sensible Sentencing Trust and Ruth Money have always advocated for the Victims , and any change in public mood has been “inflamed” by the government’s stance.

He seems to have stuck with the recent trend of feeling sorry for the offenders, saying the system failed Hawthorn and he has not received the help he needs!

So when should Hawthorn have to take responsibility for his actions, some of which have caused the deaths of four innocent victims?? When should he take ownership for his own life, his own actions and choices!!

Serving time in prison may not make a difference to a man like Hawthorn but at least he can not harm more innocent victims. His weapon of choice is a car, something he should never be allowed to drive again-ever!!

At the very least remove him from where he can do further harm and imprison him, he should have to attend alcohol and drug rehabilitation and if he refuses, he does not get released from prison.

No more chances for this man who has no care for anyone but himself. He has proven this at the cost of his innocent victims!,

A part of his release conditions should be he is never allowed to purchase alcohol again. He should never be allowed to drive or hold a license again, let alone purchase a vehicle. This is what would protect our community from harm.

Instead, he has been returned to his home environment where he can freely do as he pleases, as we know there are not enough resources to watch him 24/7.

The Judge in this case clearly was not thinking about the safety of the community when he sentenced Hawthorn!

http://www.judgethejudges.co.nz/

And then there is the discounted sentence imposed for a violent home invasion. The offender has 30 years of offending under her belt.

She has absolutely destroyed the life of an 83-year-old man and his wife.

A life they should be able to happily spend with their family, but now instead, they spend their days living in fear, wanting to leave their beloved home– the home they put their heart and soul into, and all because of the careless, selfish actions of Maera Elizabeth Todd, they no longer feel safe there and live in fear. Another one where the Judge has let the Victims down.

Judge Farish sentenced Maera Todd to seven years and four months in jail, with a requirement that she serves at least half of that period of imprisonment.

Todd was given a 25 per cent discount on her final conviction for her early guilty plea, saving the trauma, and cost, of going through a trial. A cost that would have more than likely been covered by tax payers as the majority of offenders get Legal Aid.

Her Victims lives will never be the same: they will live the rest of their days in fear, the financial cost will be devastating and their faith in the justice system will never be restored.

But in the sentencing of Maera Todd her childhood was bought into account. She came from an abusive home, with drugs, violence, poverty, and drug addiction, she managed to rack up 48 criminal convictions over nearly 30 years of offending.

And so now the system will be blamed for failing her, the country will be blamed for turning against her, but she should have taken control of her own life, and responsibility for her actions. When she had her children, she should have chosen to make a better life for them. But she chose not to. She instead chose to be selfish and destroy the lives of her Victims and her Whanau.

http://nzh.tw/12163904

And then we have a 14 year old murderer , a waste of a young life and the loss of another – his victim!

Family of the offender said he was a sweet boy, yet that sweet boy denies any wrong doing, he says he does not know how the knife that killed his victim had blood on it while in his hands!

It is said that Haami had the odds stacked against him from the very beginning, so if this was the case why had his family or friends who were there to support him in court not stepped in earlier before he committed this horrendous crime. I just hope that during his time in prison and when he is released the right steps are put in place to ensure he does not go onto live a life of crime.

The ridiculous excuses continue for criminals, but it seems to be forgotten that they chose their path.

I have not heard any words of remorse from the offenders, and the government claim they are Victims and everyone else is to blame – not the offenders!!

But the words of a woman who witnessed a horrific childhood of abuse and violent sexual assault against her mother and brother are what ring true to me ,

” our past doesn’t shape us, our choices do. I know I have the choice to make a better life for me and my children.”

We all have choices and those who choose to reoffend should be held to account.

The lives of the Victims will never be the same, they live every day with the reality of the horrific consequences and memories of the crime/s committed against them or their loved ones, They will have years and financial costs of going through the failing justice system – They will then have years of attending parole hearings, They have constant reminders of what happened – the birthday of their loved one, Christmas, New Year, those special times are the worst. The list goes on.

Yet the strength of our Victims truly astounds me. They want to make a change for the better, they want to stand up for their rights and those others forced into situations like theirs, they want to be the voice of the loved ones they lost.

To read some stories of strength, heartbreak, and love from Real Victims click on the link below.

https://sst.org.nz

We will be returning each week with new information and updates.
Please do not hesitate to contact Jess @ Jess.youth@sst.org.nz
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