Darroch Ball
Co-leader Sensible Sentencing Trust.

We have become numb to how weak our justice system is, how weak sentences have become, and how offenders are now the sole focus of the system.  We are numb to the extent to which victims are now lost in the midst of our government’s progressive, cultural, and political correctness.

A recent case involved a Whangarei man who beat his partner to death and was sentenced to life in prison.  That might sound about right, but ‘life’ in New Zealand doesn’t mean ‘life’.  The fact of the matter is this guy has a ‘maximum’ of life behind bars but is eligible to be released in seventeen years. 

Samuel Hemuera Pou beat his partner for more than ninety minutes, striking her more than one hundred times.  She ended up with fractures all over her body.  This was not the first time he had beaten her.  In fact, it was reported that the reason he killed her was because she was going to take him to court for assaulting her.  It is instances like this that demonstrably proves we need to introduce degrees of murder into our judicial system.  Thug mongrels like this should be locked up for life – they are clearly a danger to society and do not deserve to be released.

But weak sentences don’t just start at the high-level murders.  They are rife throughout the system, and in fact, the main reason why we have become so numb to it all is that they have been consistently weak from the minor offences and slowly grown to invade our entire system.

Just look at what our society has become over the recent few years and what we are now accepting as normal. 

We are numb to it all.

Look at how police assaults and abuse have gone through the roof – thirty years ago our police force would never have been looked at sideways let alone spat on, punched, kicked, bitten, abused, and bashed to the daily extent they are now.  Let’s not even go into the assaults on other first responders like ambulance paramedics and corrections officers.

Look at the outrageous number of firearm incidents that are now occurring daily.  Media just aren’t even bothering reporting all of them it is that many.  This wasn’t happening thirty years ago.  Police are exposed to these incidents literally on a daily basis now.  Thirty years ago, the majority of kiwi’s wouldn’t even consider backing the permanent arming of police – now it is a very real conversation and even around 80% of frontline officers want it. 

Look at the huge number of gang incidents that have pervaded our society.  Not only have gang numbers and violent incidents exploded, but the media and some politicians also are glamourising and legitimising their behaviour and existence.  Thirty years ago gangs were understood to be the group of criminals that they were – and treated as such by media, the community, and politicians alike.  Now we have media and politicians legitimising them, defending them, and normalising them, even ministers being their guest speaker at their gang pad.

Look at how youth offenders get treated with a hug and a hot mug of milo.  Since when do we think it is normal for 11, 12, 13-year-olds to rob dairies with knives for a pack of smokes? Or beating vulnerable elderly up for a few bucks.  We have teenagers running rampant stealing cars with firearms and leading police on chases – then laughing about it.  If we really want to look at one of the main factors of adult crime – let’s take a proper look at the youth justice system. 

Since when do we as a society seriously think this should be normal?

We have just become so numb to it all and have allowed our politicians and bureaucrats to feed us a never-ending positive, offender-centric narrative about our justice system.  Our system now consists of discounts, leeway, cultural caveats, and sentence reductions for offenders as the norm.  We have a government with a nutbar main focus of ‘reducing the prison population’ as the number one priority and measuring tool for ‘how successful the system is’. 

Our apathy has allowed our system to grow to be so utterly weak that our society has become worse for it.  Who will walk down Queen St at night by themselves now? Or walk home through Wellington streets after work? Or own a small convenience store after being robbed three times this week – and nothing being done to the youth who bashed you for it? 

And when, in the middle of all of these law-and-order issues, the government allows our frontline police force to inexplicably drop in number while gang numbers are going through the roof – we have gone terribly wrong somewhere.

The fact is we have grown used to a pathetically weak justice system, first responders being bashed, daily gang violence and expansion, youth becoming so violent, and our main city streets becoming fearful places to walk. 

When are we going to realise this isn’t the way it used to be?  When are we going to realise that the only reason it’s this way is that we have allowed our justice system to become so weak?

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Public Numb to Weak Justice System
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