Monday, October 25, 2010

We really need to implement degrees of murder

On Stuff this morning:

The Deerstalkers' Association president Alec McIver said the hunter who shot Ms Ives was "spotlighting" and shooting on public land.

The "terrible accident" tarnished the reputation of all hunters.

Oh yeah, an "accident." Could happen to anyone, right? I remember years back there was a petrolhead loser racing at night in Christchurch, mowed down a woman on a pedestrian crossing, then bleated to the media how he didn't think he should be charged with manslaughter because it was "just an accident." I agreed with him to the extent that it would have been nice if he didn't have to be charged with manslaughter - a degree of murder charge would have been way more appropriate. This is another case like that one - if you're doing something really obviously stupid and dangerous that's quite likely to kill someone, and you kill someone, let's not use the wildly inappropriate word "accident" for it.

I lived on the West Coast when I was younger, and got well acquainted with the kind of people who have these "terrible accidents" with guns. They are, universally, people who love guns, act like morons when they've got hold of one, end up killing someone, and if the someone isn't themselves they try and call it an "accident." Just as though everybody has play fights with a loaded gun, climbs fences with one, fires off into the distance on flat, open ground for entertainment (one of our near-neighbours in Harihari was shot dead by someone firing at random on a farm a good kilometer away), or just bangs away at anything that moves because that's what they call "hunting." Call it what it is, a form of murder through criminal negligence.


Anonymous said...

Surely the most consequence-free method of murdering someone you don't like- invite them hunting then "accidentally" shoot them.

Anonymous said...

IANAL, but I believe criminal negligence is manslaughter.

kevin said...

I'm told all the genuine, skilled hunters stay well away from the bush at labour weekend. For every death there must be lots of close calls where the finger is on the trigger, whilst the hunter thinks he has to go home with something.

Oswald Bastable said...

Kevin- you are right on that one. I won't go into the hills during the roar nowadays!

The three degrees of murder are long overdue in coming here in NZ.

I would also put in a plug for the result of 'Not proven guilty'

Psycho Milt said...

...I believe criminal negligence is manslaughter.

Yeah, and you can get life for it, and so on. But manslaughter has connotations of "not really your fault" - a degree of murder is a lot more resistant to pretense.

Anonymous said...

In the past 3 weeks I have apprehended 3 carloads o 'youfs' spotlighting on my and my two neighbour's properties. The cops have been notified each time, eventually track them down and give them a warning. I think we are up to incident number 13 this year. The ones I catch are just the tip of the iceberg. I am heartily sick of it. Deer fences cut between public land and us, signs shot full of holes when the background area is undulating road that could conceal cars or the ubiquitous campervans, deer limping round with gut shots or other wounds, lambs being separated and mis-mothered all pales into insignificance when it comes to someone being headshot and killed at a campground. The police have yet to make an example of any of the incidents out our way. In the event of a tragedy I would not like to be in the local police commander's boots, there is a paper trail a mile long resolved by slaps with wet bus tickets.
There is a new breed of hunter these days. They have the latest rifles and optics, a set of redbands, a spotlight, a box of Speights and a ute. They are not hunter's arseholes. They are thieving braindead morons.
To describe this incident as a terrible accident that tarnishes hunter's reputations is bullshit. Its criminal activity. You have more chance of being prosecuted for being out of road miles than you do for blazing away near my house and being caught in the act.


Tinman said...

I posted elsewhere yesterday that anyone who kills someone while deliberately involved in a criminal act should be charged with (and convicted of) murder.

The law apparently says otherwise.

I agree, change the law!