Stuff co.nz 13 January 2015
OPINION: Michelle Smith’s powerful letter to The Press on Saturday (reprinted below) underscores the outright stupidity of the overcooked restorative-justice revolution that has been unleashed on our courts.
In this case, her loved one, Terrence Martin Smith, died after being doused with petrol and set alight. How unbelievably insulting to presume the victim’s family would wish to rendezvous over tea and biscuits with the killers, ahead of sentencing.
At the other end of the spectrum, The Press reported the case of the Rolleston scooter rider who last month pleaded guilty to intentionally exposing his genitals to passing women.
The female complainant made it patently clear she didn’t want to meet the offender, yet sentencing still had to be delayed for a month.
This is so inquiries can again be formally made about convening a conference, even though the woman has clearly seen more than enough of the individual.
Four weeks ago, in this column, I predicted how this overblown new monkey wrench would puncture the wheels of justice.
Presiding judges are now forced to adjourn all cases after a guilty plea to give Ministry of Justice conference facilitators time to coax offenders and victims to come together. It enables offenders the opportunity to earn brownie points by playing the game and pocketing a discounted sentence.
‘Absurd’ mandatory referrals clogging courts
Stuff co.nz 14 January 2015
Changes to New Zealand’s restorative justice process are creating a huge backlog in the country’s courts and could cause more harm to the people they were meant to help, critics say.
Legislation that came into force last month now means judges have to refer all cases for the restorative justice process if there is an identifiable victim.
About 70 cases a week are being referred from the Christchurch courts but it is understood the service in Christchurch can handle only 10 cases a week at present.
Judge Paul Kellar said in court yesterday that the limit had been reached during the morning sessions on Monday, highlighting the “absurdity of the legislation”.
Last week, Judge Alistair Garland called it “an appalling situation”.