Media Release 5 June 2015
Family First NZ is welcoming a court decision to discharge without conviction a mother who left her pre-schooler in a car, saying that the death of her son is punishment enough, but is disappointed that the police didn’t show the same level of discretion and avoid a drawn out court process.
“The drawn out court process has served no public benefit. It has just added to the pain of a mother who has already received a life sentence. What was the point of pursuing this further?” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“No jail term or punishment could have outweighed the consequence of the mother’s mistake. This does not appear to be a neglectful mother. It appears to be simply a tragic tragic mistake. Fortunately the judge agreed.”
Family First says that the police should have used their discretion as granted under the Prosecution Guidelines. There was not public interest served in pursuing this conviction. The police should have used the sad tragic incident as an opportunity to remind and educate all families of the potential consequences of similar actions.
“A precedent had been set. It seemed cruel to then drag this mother through a similar process knowing there would be a similar outcome,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First is calling for a review of how charges are laid in cases like this where there is no intent to break the law and the outcome far outweighs the need for prosecution.