Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Christie's Law" is but one small step.

Yesterday Tracy Marceau presented the petition that has been dubbed 'Christie's Law' to Parliament.

Christie was killed in November 2011 by a piece of pond scum who, two months earlier, had been charged with kidnapping and assaulting her, then  released on bail.  I understand the terms of his bailed release had very little restraint effect.  He killed Christie in her North Shore home.

The current tinkering around bail laws before the Parliament would have made no difference in Christie's case had they been in force, as the perp was a first offender when charged in September.

A freezing worker in South Otago has escaped any sanction from our murder law as he was declared "insane"  by Judge Gendall in a pretrial hearing. He caused his wife of many years to die from severe blood loss from a knife attack that followed many years of jealousy, controlling behavior and stalking, building a scenario that, with all with the advantage of hindsight, was entirely predictable to end in the bloody tragedy.
It is likely that in short time a couple of pointy heads will declare him sane again and he will be released.

Last weekend, a group of motor cyclists, on a rally run, discovered a deceased couple in forest west of Waimate. It appears the male, convicted around the millenium of kidnapping for sexual violation, after serving 3 1/2 years jail time, had set up home in the quiet rural Sth Canterbury township. Very early in the police enquiry, he was a person of interest.

Alas, it appears he picked up the 31yo tourist/backpacker on her travel by thumb between Cromwell to Timaru and she didn't make it.

The relevance of the three cases is the apparent inability for the legal system to effectively deal with many cases where it seems to be totally ill equipped to prevent tragedies that, looking back, were likely going to happen, all about when not if.   The three perps all had 'previous' and/or behavior that signalled their  ultimately tragic culmination in death of innocents.

Toss in losers such as Weatherston, Bell, Burton and the many other tragic deaths our law has failed to prevent, and a picture emerges of just what a small step Christies Law is but, that said, I applaud and support the effort the petition presenters have made to bring it to the law makers for action.

In an ironical twist, the sub committee that will consider the small step that Christie's Law addresses is chaired by Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean whose electorate  has pretty much at its geographical heart the delightful rural community of Waimate.

Maybe law abiding New Zealand will see some outcomes that make it a safer place to live and if that impinges on the "rights" of the 'bad bastards' in our midst it will be socially affordable.

That would be a suitable epitaph for Christie Marceau


Anonymous said...

Its easy how to fix this mess - change the crimes act to make Judges criminally liable for offenses committed by folk they let out on bail. At the moment the judges couldn't care less - its time that they took responsibility for their actions


Graeme Edgeler said...

"A freezing worker in South Otago has escaped any sanction from our murder law as he was declared "Insane" by Judge Gendall in a pretrial hearing."

You imply that nothing will happen. Instead, he'll very likely be locked up forever, much longer than had he actually been convicted.

gravedodger said...

Graeme I didn't intend to imply that at all but you cannot expect me to believe he will be detained for possibly longer than the sentence "if" he had been convicted.

He is now in the "care" of psyche services under the Mental Health Act with no judicial sanction. If my understanding is correct he is now in their hands, they will decide his future, should they declare him "cured", he will be freed.

Thanks for the comment and please enlighten me if I am wrong but he has evaded the possible unlawful killing charges available and is just sick, therefore curable.

Graeme Edgeler said...

You are mistaken. They can be released, but only with the agreement of the Minister of Health. Government ministers tend not to order release for such people.

gravedodger said...

Thankyou for your input Graeme
Cheers M.

JC said...

Except, Graham, the Minister will follow the recommendation of his department(s) as to release.

That suggests a question.. what examples are there of a Minister defying the recommendations of his dept and keeping a killer in jail?


Graeme Edgeler said...

Name anyone who has been found not guilty by reason of insanity (or unfit to stand trial by reason of insanity) for a murder in New Zealand who has ever been released into the community. Just one.

Anonymous said...

Matthew John Ahlquist - less than a minute on google

Graeme Edgeler said...

He's still detained as a special patient. Try again.

baxter said...

What about the guy who shot and killed about 8 people in the National Park area a decade or so ago. He is definitely out and about.

Spider said...

Part of the therapy for special patients is to reintergrate them back into the community. Matthew Ahlquist was granted unescorted leave (unsupervised leave) from the Mason Clinic 3 years after murdering Colin Moyle. This means he can spend up to 6 nights a week in the community unsupervised. We will not know if he has his status changed and discharged unless he offends again due to privacy issues. Stephen Anderson was discharged after 12 years for murdering 6 people at Raurimu.Paul Julian was released in the 80s after murdering his sister, he then went on to murder his cousin and her partner. True, the Minister of Health has the final say on releasing special patients but they act on the advice of the patients clinicians.There has been a 300% rise in the number of people being acquitted by insanity since 2000. There were 12 in 2000 and 36 in 2010, figures from the Ministry of Justice. A Guilty but Insane verdict with a conviction is urgently required so we can keep track of these offenders. 90% of mental health murders could have been prevented had the psychiatrists taken the patients illness, behaviour and threats seriously and listened to concerns from family and friends. Accountability by psychiatrists as well as judges may go a long way to resolving these issues, currently they're untouchable!