Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Confusion, Misdirection, and Minimisation of Crime

An Immoral Compass With a Bent Needle

We wonder how many New Zealand males have walked up to a female and groped her buttocks.  In law this constitutes an assault.  We are confident that such criminal actions have been rare--when the entire population is taken into account.  

A prisoner has been convicted of just such an assault upon a female prison officer.  Immediately a serious matter becomes even more serious.  He attacked someone in authority over him, thus breaching the command and control conditions of incarceration.  Thus the assault is not just a sexual assault of a male assaulting a female, it also was a rejection and rebellion against lawful state authority.

The prisoner in this case was on a Third Strike.

National MP Mark Mitchell has accused Justice Minister Andrew Little of "trivialising" an indecent assault in which a prisoner grabbed the bottom of a female prison officer.  The case was raised by Little in Parliament on Thursday when Mitchell, National's justice spokesman, was questioning him about the numbers in prison who were "low-level criminals."

Mitchell had asked for an example of a "non-violent" assault after Little said more than 50 per cent of those who entered the prison system each year were convicted of crimes that did not involve violence.  Little referred to the conviction of the first "three-strikes" offender Raven Casey Campbell for indecent assault in 2016 for "pinching the bottom of a prison officer".  [NZ Herald]
Note the minimising language: "pinching" a female on the buttocks.  This was more accurately described in court.
The judge's sentencing notes stated Campbell had "grabbed her right buttock, squeezed it quite hard and held on for 1 to 2 seconds." He had then refused to leave and had followed the guard to a gate and asked to talk to her
So, groping and stalking.  This, said the Judge, was a relatively trivial assault and should not receive the mandated minimum Three Strikes sentence of seven years.  The Minister of Justice agreed with the Judge and refused to apply the required minimum sentence of seven years.  Andrew Little agreed with the Judge and used this case as an example of a relatively innocuous offence. 

What these two luminaries have not factored in is that this was an action of a violent man who did far more than "pinch" a females buttocks.  He groped them.  Secondly, he raised a hand of rebellion against the lawful authority of the State.  Thirdly, he did these things as a recidivist offender, making his guilt all the greater.  It is this latter consideration which is missing in the moral arithmetic of both the Judge and the present Minister of Justice.  The Three Strikes Law exists  because the Parliament has ruled that subsequent, repeated offending bears greater guilt than initial offending, and this guilt must attract progressively severe sentences.  Justice requires such an escalation of serious punishment. 

But Minister Little and the Judge are still back in the dark ages when it come to assessing guilt, crime, and punishment.  They still think that each case must be regarded on its isolated merits and the successive infractions of career criminals must not be taken into account when considering the seriousness of offences and the weight of guilt of a convicted criminal. 

Both the Judge and the Minister of Justice are failing to uphold and apply the law. 

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