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The Judge the Judges website is run by the Sensible Sentencing Trust in order to highlight inadequacies in the New Zealand system of justice and how it impacts on judges decisions made in court.
This includes uneven decisions across similar types of offending and the grossly inadequate level of sentencing sometimes imposed. Sensible Sentencing believes strongly in judicial accountability.

To view a case, click it's introductory text box. To close open cases, click this box.

JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 32 "Justice Michael Downs exercises the 'manifestly unjust' clause in the Three Strikes law to the advantage of a violent thug". You be the judge.

Offender, George Christopher Pomee Victims, 67 Year old woman, and several others Justice Michael Downs

George Christopher Pomee who has links to the Head Hunters gang, is a violent offender with a history of threatening to kill, kidnapping, and aggravated robbery including a 67 year old woman at an atm machine. His accumulated convictions mean he is a third strike offender under New Zealand's Three Strike law which carries the maximum available sentence without parole.

Offences: Aggravated robbery, Kidnapping.

Sentence: 14 years imprisonment with minimum period of five and a half years.

Pomee, who has links to the Head Hunters gang, received his first strike and one year 11 months' imprisonment after two robberies in November 2013, including the 67-year-old woman.
For his second strike Pomee was given 16 months' imprisonment for an aggravated robbery in April 2015. Armed with a piece of wood he took a 16-year-old's bank card and phone and demanded the pin code for each before emptying his bank account.

Clearly, Pomee was undeterred by receiving his second strike because soon after his release in August 2017, Pomee and his associates robbed two men in their car. They stole cigarettes, money and a mobile phone and just six days after that, Pomee and two co-offenders offended again. Parked next to their victim, this time it was an overseas visitor who was robbed.

The Three Strikes law was intended to prevent recidivist offenders like Pomee from continuing to offend for a very long period of time by imposing the maximum term of imprisonment without parole.

The provision of the 'manifestly unjust' clause in the legislation was put there to avoid a rare situation where giving the maximum sentence might be unjust.

The use of this clause was intended by the NZ Parliament to be used only in exceptional circumstances.

In what can only be described as judicial activism, it has become a regular feature of judicial decision making to use the manifestly unjust clause to reduce sentence length. Not what parliament intended!.

Justice Michael Downs sentenced Pomee to 14 years imprisonment for each of the two main offences and then listed four aggravating factors, things that made the offending worse:
(a) It was premeditated. He targeted the same location six days earlier.
(b) It involved actual violence. He punched the victim repeatedly, and to
his head.
(c) He threatened to kill the victim. He showed him a magazine with
bullets. The later search reveals a gun was present. The threat was credible.
(d) He acted in concert with others, and so risked escalation of harm.

After going through this litany of factors you might expect the most serious of reponses but no, Justice Downs managed to invoke the manifestly unjust clause anyway and handed down just one 14 year sentence but with a mere five and a half year minimum time to be served.
Pomee could be out sooner rather than later. More victims will be the result.

Did Justice Michael Downs subvert the intent of the New Zealand parliament? You be the judge.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11958011

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CASE 31 "Justice Paul Davison gives a two finger salute to parliament. You be the judge of his fitness to be a judge."

Offender, Dylyn Davis Victim, Aroha Kerehoma Justice Paul Davison

Dylyn Mitchell Davis, a violent thug on his final warning under New Zealand's Three Strike law, beat his girlfriend Aroha Kerehoma to a pulp in a fit of temper and left her to die in a pool of blood in the garage. He then went out with a mate and bragged "I choked the bitch. She had it coming"

Offences: Murder
Sentence: Life with a minimum non parole period of 20 years

Davis and Kerehoma had been in a relationship for five months before the killing.
She told her former partner she did not feel safe, and did not like staying home with Davis. She also said Davis had been hitting her. Her last day alive had started without incident. About 2pm that Saturday Davis bought alcohol for a planned evening of drinking and playing music.

Between 7.30pm and midnight, Kerehoma engaged in a text message conversation with her former partner. The conversation was about Davis, and Kerehoma was expressing concerns about him in the texts.

Davis found out about the texts and took the phone off Kerehoma and checked her messages. He became angry, and then violent, rendering her unconscious to the point where she died from her multiple blunt force head injuries.

In a landmark ruling, Davis has been jailed for life, with a minimum non-parole period of 20 years.</p>
The refusal of High Court Justice Paul Davison QC to impose a sentence of Life without Parole on the first Third Strike murderer is a constitutional outrage.

Parliament was very clear when the Three Strikes law was passed in 2010, that murderers with prior strike convictions are expected to receive the ultimate penalty - a sentence of Life without Parole.
The first case today is surely as bad as it can get.

Dylyn Davis is a violent thug, who beat and choked Aroha Kerehoma to death and later bragged about what he had done to his scumbag mates, describing his victim choking to death as she gargled on her own blood.

Not only has he shown no remorse, but was proud of what he had done. He should never walk the streets again – his victim certainly will not.

The New Zealand Three Strikes Law was designed to deal with recidivist violent thugs like Davis. Keeping them locked away from the rest of society is the only way to prevent further tragedy.
Justice Paul Davison has been gutless and completely misused the 'manifestly unjust' clause in the legislation.

He has thwarted the will of parliament with his sentencing decision.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1803/S00368/third-strike-murderer-deserves-lwop.htm

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Case 30 "Justice Anne Hinton seems to think four counts of manslaughter equals 12 months home detention. You be the Judge."

Offender, Dylan Cossey Victims, Four people Justice Anne Hinton

Dylan Cossey was taking part in an illegal street race at speeds approaching 140kph near Hamilton airport. The driver of the other car, Lance Robinson, lost control and crashed head-on into a van coming the other way, wiping out the lives of four innocent people.

Offences: Four Counts of manslaughter

Sentence: 12 months home detention, 400 hours community service, 7 years loss of driving licence

The street racers, Dylan Cossey and Lance Robinson did not know each other but made the impulsive decision to take each other on in a high speed race which proved fatal for four of the occupants in Robinson's car. Robinson lost control on a bend, fishtailed and slammed his Nissan Skyline head on into the path of a plumbing company van.
Cossey, who was driving his Honda Integra fled the scene along with his driving mate Stephen John Jones. Jones was filming at the time and later tried to edit out the record of the crash. He was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
In sentencing Cossey, Hinton said Cossey had demonstrated little in the way of remorse for the victims and their families but she took into consideration the impact of the crash on his mentally, noting a recent short stay at mental health facility the Henry Bennett Centre.
Then having clearly said Cossey demonstrated little remorse Justice Hinton contradicted herself by then saying "I accept that you are remorseful though you have strange manner in showing it.............."
She sentenced him to 12 months home detention on the four manslaughter charges, six months home detention to be served concurrently for racing causing injury and four months, also concurrent, for failing to stop.
She added the maximum community work, 400 hours, and disqualified Cossey from driving for seven years.
Home detention is a pathetic response to four manslaughter charges and simply does not address the tragic loss of four lives and the consequent shattering of four families and their wider whanau.
Fortunately the driver of the van survived but has serious injuries
Justice Anne Hinton has failed to send a clear message that reckless behaviour causing death (in this case four lives) must face the most serious of consequences. Home detention is widely regarded by New Zealanders as a joke. Staying home for a while leaves an offender's life largly untouched by what they have done whereas the victims lives are changed forever.

Justice Hinton's sentencing should have reflected that! Jail time would have been appropriate.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/103275003/why-a-driver-convicted-of-manslaughter-isnt-going-to-jail

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CASE 29 "Judge Clark failed New Zealand when she gave a child basher home detention. No wonder we have an epidemic of child abuse in NZ"

Offender, 20 year old man Victim, baby girl Justice, Denise Clark

The man who beat his baby son in the face and head then jammed an object in his mouth causing significant injuries has been sentenced to 9 months home detention. The sentence is "a huge joke" says the young victim's grandfather who wanted to see the violent abuser jailed.

Offences: Wounding with reckless disregard

Sentence: 9 months detention and 160 hours of community service

What sort of man beats his nine month son and partner, including when she was pregnant?

The baby was left with lacerations around the mouth, welts on both sides of his head, multiple cheekbone fractures, a torn lip and tongue and grazes to the little 9 month old's head.

He also asaulted the mother with a weapon.

While not using the fathers alcohol abuse as a mitigating factor, Judge Clark said it did provide a context for it.

The judge's only concern should have been to use the full weight of the law to punish what was a cruel and vicious attack on an innocent, vulnerable baby.

For the sentencing Judge to hand down a pathetic sentence of home detention is disgusting and sends a clear message to society that a child’s life in New Zealand is worthless

9 Months home detention ignores the seriousness of the bashing and the revulsion of New Zealanders who expect child abuse to be dealt with seriously by our judges.

We expect our judges to be the gatekeepers for a safer society. Judge Denise Clark was in a position to signal that violence against our most vulnerable will not be tolerated.
She failed miserably.

http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/national/home-detention-for-dad-who-bashed-baby/

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Case 28 "Judge Butler should be removed from office if this is how he deals with a violent member of a criminal gang"

Offender, Kahutia Mita Victim, 15 year old boy Justice, PJ Butler

Mongrel Mob member, Kahutia Mita assaulted a teenager outside a KFC restaurant in Blenheim because the colour of his shirt was similar to that of an opposition gang. In spite of Mahutia's history Judge Butler thought a bit of R'n'R at home would serve as justice!

Offences: Injuring with intent to injure

Sentence: Home detention (being assessed for electronic monitoring)

Mita, 34 years old and well built caused serious injury in his unprovoked attack on the 15 year old schoolboy who was on his way home from Touch Rugby resulting in a fractured nose, broken teeth, a hematoma on each eye, bruises and concussion.

He required surgery. Mita, out of control, punched the student twice in the head and shouted "that's what you get".

Mita has had a total of 13 previous convictions for violence since 2009

If it is not obvious that the public need protecting from neanderthrals like Mita, then Judge Butler has no place in the court and should be stood down at least if not dismissed from the bench.

This won't happen of course since under our system the judge would have had to have committed an offence so the best we can hope for is a word in the ear from the Chief District Court Court Judge.

Will that actually happen? We can only hope. New Zealand needs a complete review of how judges are appointed and a system of ongoing monitoring of them. Judges are the gatekeepers for society and public safety should underly every judgement they dispense.

How can the victim and his parents feel that justice has been done when Judge Butler rewards Kahutia's crime with some R'n'R therapy at home.

Is it any wonder our criminals regard the New Zealand justice system as one big joke?

Judge Butler has earned a big 'FAIL' in this case.

Note: Judge Jan Kelly firstly convicted Mita and remanded him in custody to January 24 so his home address could be assessed for an electronically monitored sentence. Judge PJ Butler then sentenced him. Both Judges are equally worthy of criticism in this case.

Media Links:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/national/87490883/Mongrel-Mob-member-assaults-student-for-wearing-blue-rugby-uniform


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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 27 "Punching a police officer unconscious, according to Judge Roberts just merits community work. Really?"

Offender, Nikolas Delegat Victim, Constable Alana Kane Judge Kevin Phillips

We rely on our police force to protect us, so when the police are attacked we expect a meaningful sentence to punish the offender and deter other like minded thugs. According to Judge Kevin Phillips community work will do just fine.

Offences: Aggravated assault downgraded to assaulting a police officer with intent to obstruct her in the execution of her duty, Assault and wilful damage.

Sentence: Community work.

Constable Alana Kane required 15 hours of treatment in Dunedin hospital after Nikolas Delegat knocked her unconscious with a closed fist to the head followed by three other punches.

Delegate said he was part of the "the rather out of control drinking culture at the University of Otago" and was willing to undertake community work. No doubt he thought this was a magnanimous gesture on his part. Big Deal!

Assaulting a police officer in the execution of her duty is a serious offence carrying a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment. Delegat's attempts to get name suppression and keep anonymity have been through four courts from Dunedin to Auckland and back again.

As the son of rich-lister wine magnate Jakov Delegat, his family could well afford the legal to and fro-ing as he tried to wriggle out of taking responsibility for his actions.

And now he is considering appealing his sentence - whatever happened to Accountability, Boundaries, Consequences and Discipline, the values our ancesters had in spades?

This case is not just an assault case. It is about treating our police force with the respect they deserve as they go about their duties protecting us from harm.

Judge Phillips failed to use the sentences available to him and undermined the difficult job our police have every day of their life.

Media Link:
https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/court-news/sentence-may-be-appealed

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Case 26 "Sex offender Paul Herricks actions were a complete breach of trust, as he used opportunities to offend in his role as a teacher. You be the judge of Judge Large"

Offender, Paul Herrick Victims, Young Children Judge Jim Large

Former Awamoa School teacher Paul Roger Herrick has been jailed for four years and nine months on historic sex offence charges against seven victims. He will be eligible for parole in just 16 months - that represents just over 2 months per victim! You be the judge.

Offences: Indecent Assault

Sentence: 4 years 9 months imprisonment.

The Palmerston North District Court heard on Friday how Linton man Paul Herrick, 71, preyed on vulnerable children before indecently assaulting them for his sexual gratification.

He was meant to be helping children with reading and writing during his time as a primary school teacher, instead he gave them an education no one would wish for.

He was in in his 30s when he committed crimes against children as young as 9 years old at Awamoa School, near Oamaru, but they were not his only victims.

He was imprisoned for five years in the 1990s, then nine months home detention in 2015, for offences he committed against other children around the same period of time.

Herricks offending spanned 30 years and he had been imprisoned before so what was District Court Judge Jim Large thinking when he imposed a miniscule sentence of four years 9 months in July 2016.

This means Herrick will be eligible for parole in just 19 months.

Seven of his victims from his most recent sentencing came forward after reading about his 2015 sentencing so it can reasonably be assumed there were other victims who have not come forward.

The sentence Large imposed represents just over 2 months per victim!

Judge Large is inexperienced, having only been appointed a District Court Judge in 2015 but that fact does not excuse this weak sentence. We expect our judges to make decisions which reflect the abhorrence the public feel towards sexual predators. In addition, sentences should have a deterrent effect by sending a clear message to others of a similar disposition.

If a teacher can sexually abuse our school children and the Judge only slaps his hand, what message does that send to the public of New Zealand? You be the judge.


Media Article Links:
www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/82371289/paul-herrick-imprisoned-for-sexual-offending-against-children-he-taught

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 25 "Judge Recordon said the breach of trust was at the highest level a mother could be involved with and then ignored the sentences available to him."

Offender, Krystal Harvey Victim, 1 Year Old Boy Judge, Philip Recordon

Krystal Harvey, 23, was sentenced to eight months home detention after admitting to sexually violating her 1-year-old son and producing a 1 minute-long video of her performing the act to sell to a paedophile for money.

Offences: Sexual violation.

Sentence: 8 months home detention.

Section 128B (2) of the crimes Act 1961 states that: 'A person convicted of sexual violation must be sentenced to imprisonment unless the court thinks that the person should not be sentenced to imprisonment.'

This is the piece of contradictory legislative mumbo-jumbo that supposedly guides the judge in making a sentencing decision.

But then, we expect our judges to also use common sense and reflect the public interest.

Judge Recordon had a mandatory jail term as a starting point for sentencing but chose to side with the offender and feel sorry for her by imposing a sentence of home detention instead.

(The Crown prosecutor, Nick Hobbs asked for a sentencing starting point of 7 years and Harvey's own defence lawyer, Annabel Maxwell-Scott proposed 4 years!)

Home detention as a punishment is bound to stop her doing this again, right?

Judge Recordon has a history of going soft and thinking only about the offender.

Sentencing is meant to have a deterent as well as punitive effect and be seen by the public as justice. Judge Recordons' decision has none of those values.

Update: The crown appealed the sentence imposed by Judge Recordon. Justice Edwin Wylie said "The starting point adopted was too low, and the discounts allowed for mitigating features were too high. I am satisfied that the end sentence imposed by the Judge was wrong in principle, and manifestly inadequate."

He set aside the home detention sentence and instead imposed a term of three years and nine months' imprisonment. Is that enough? She can apply for parole in 15 months time. You be the judge.

The following media links provide more evidence of Judge Recordon's pattern of lenient sentencing.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/2586342/Sentences-row-judge-defends-colleague
http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/295593/entertainer-wins-permanent-name-suppression
http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/252171/mother-upset-at-judge's-ruling
http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/so-called-celebrity-justice/


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Case 24 "Judge Philippa Cunningham is in the news again. She had the chance to make a stand on child abuse but brought shame on herself instead."

Offender, Auckland Professional Victims, Children everywhere Judge, Philippa Cunningham

Judge Cunningham declined to give a custodial sentence to an Auckland 'professional' who was caught with thousands of videos and images of child abuse, instead sentencing him to home detention and 100 hours community work. Now he can say home and collect even more!

Offences: Possession of child abuse material.</

Sentence: Seven months home detention, 100 hours community work.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust calls on Judge Philippa Cunningham to resign. Yet again she has ignored the legal options she has to deal with an offender in a way which reflects public expectations of the judiciary.

Giving permanent name supression to a collector of child abuse material avoids shaming the offender and when accompanied by home detention gives the offender freedom to continue with his deviant pastime.

One report stated that “so appalling was the nature of the abuse” that Judge Cunningham chose not to view it

Perhaps if she had viewed it her sentencing decision might have been different.

She also ignored the Department of Internal Affairs submission for a jail sentence to “reflect the seriousness of the offence and its aggravating features”.

It was further reported that the judge, noting rehabilitative steps taken by the offender, farewelled him with the words “every new day is going to be a better day”.

Really? Does Judge Cunningham have a clinical psychology degree? Her faith in human nature knows no bounds if she thinks home detention, community work and a bit of rehabilitation will fix years of deviant behaviour.

NOTE: In April 2015 the government almost doubled custodial sentences when it passed the Objectionable Publications and Indecency Legislation Bill. Judge Philippa Cunningham is ignoring the clear intention of government.

Media Article Links:
Auckland.Scoop.co.nz
Stuff.co.nz

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Case 23 "Judge Grant Fraser lets a musician off an assault charge so as not to jeopardise his recording deal. You be the judge."

Offender, Musician
(name suppressed)
Victim, Ex-partner
(name suppressed)
Judge, Grant Fraser

Name suppression was given to a musician, his ex-partner and the actual name of the musicians’ band because the judge was convinced making it public would spoil his chances of breaking into the big time!
How very career minded of him!

Offences: Assault

Sentence: None. Court costs only.

This is one of those cases where alcohol fuelled an argument, an altercation happened and someone got hurt. That could be described as being at the lower end of offending, but that is not why this case appears here.

An increasing problem we have in New Zealand is with judges who sympathise with the wrongdoer and let them off without a conviction whereas others in a similar situation but without a bleeding heart story to spin in court are judged differently.

What this amounts to is that the name suppression law in New Zealand has become a right to protect offenders. It was never designed for this purpose but you would think it had been by the sheer number of name suppression rulings made for offenders every day in our courts.

The musician walked free with a miserly $130 bill for court costs after telling the judge of the bands (potentially) big break with a European label, the opportunity he described as a ‘pretty big deal'.

Judge Grant Fraser accepted a conviction or any negative publicity might jeopardise the record deal and granted the applications for name suppression.

He added “it would appear….that the band and the defendant are about to potentially break through into the international market”

He would know? Not!

Where is the equal justice for all?


Media Article Links:
Manawatu Standard

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 22 "Blessie Gotingco's murder was entirely preventable, but then, we have a criminal-friendly justice system in New Zealand and Judge Timothy Brewer."

Offender,Tony Douglas Robertson Victim, Blessie Gotingco Justice Timothy Brewer

When Justice Patrick Keane declined to impose a sentence of preventive detention in 2006 he freed Tony Robertson to kill. Justice Timothy Brewer has imposed the sentence now that Keane should have done back then. Tragically, a family has paid the price for that mistake.

Offences: Murder, Rape

Sentence: Life Imprisonment for murder with non parole period of 24 years. Preventive Detention for rape

In 2006, when Transport Minister Simon Bridges was Crown Prosecutor he recognized Robertson as an extremely dangerous character and appealed for him to be sentenced to preventive detention but Justice Patrick Keane thought he knew better and rejected his plea saying that Robertson was "not simply to be assumed to be a lost cause at the age of 19"

He got that badly wrong! Robertson's past at that time included assault, abduction, robbery, attempted kidnapping (2), and indecent acts on a child (3).

That should have rung enough warning bells for the judge and, had he put the safety of the New Zealand public ahead of the interests of this recidivist scumbag then Blessie Gotingco would be alive today.

Justice Keane failed to act in the best interests of New Zealanders - to keep us safe from a predator.

While it is too late to change what happened, Justice Brewer is to be thanked for imposing one of the longest and meaningful sentences we have seen for a long time.

The New Zealand public are justifiably sceptical of the 'monitoring' of high risk offenders. This is one area where we may have to accept an increased financial cost to ensure thorough, effective tracking of offenders.

Reassurances from Corrections that they did everyting by the book are unconvincing.

Our criminal-friendly justice system has just notched up another 'Fail' and the Gotingco family and their friends' lives have changed forever.

Media Article Links:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/70870674/blessies-killer-tony-robertson-sentenced-to-preventive-detention

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Case 21 "Another case where a judge confers a medical science degree on herself so as to go easy on a thug. You be the judge of Judge Macintosh."

Offender,Jacob Patrick Broderick Victim, Havelock North Electrician Judge, Bridgette Macintosh

In sentencing Jacob Patrick Broderick for an unprovoked attack on a Havelock North electrician, Judge Mackintosh ignored the seriousness of the attack which could have killed the man or rendered him mentally impaired for life.

Offences: Injuring with intent to injure.

Sentence: 4 months community detention, 200 hours community work and 9 months supervision.

Judge Bridgette Mackintosh considered his supposed talent as a sportsman and accepted the argument from his lawyer, Roger Philip that the attack was ‘out of character’ and that it was an ‘impulse decision’.

She said in addition to being a talented sportsman, Broderick had performed well at school (as have lots of law abiding citizens) and that his attack was "out of character" (how would she know?). And, he had played representative cricket for Hawkes Bay. (again, like other law abiding citizens)

Judge Mackintosh said there had been a "developmental block in the brain” which is apparent by this kind of conduct". Really?

Despite Broderick kicking the electrician and leaving him dazed and vulnerable, Judge Macintosh said the beating was "probably fuelled by alcohol" and described it as a "brain explosion".

Broderick is lucky his victim is alive or he would be facing a much more serious charge. His victim spent five days in hospital after being repeatedly punched in the head and has ongoing difficulties as a result.

The decision by Judge Mackintosh shows she is oblivious to public expectations of the judiciary. Broderick should have spent time in prison.

The victim was left in "total dismay and disbelief". So are we.

Media Links:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/10647954/Beating-was-impulsive-decision-court-told

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Case 20 "Justice Jill Mallon refused to apply the Life Without Parole provisions of the Three Strikes Law as enacted by Parliament. Is this judicial activism?"

Offender, Shane Pierre Harrison Victim, Sio Matalasi Justice, Jill Mallon

 In sentencing Shane Pierre Harrison for murder at the High Court in Wellington, Justice Mallon was required by law to impose a true life-means-life sentence as Harrison has a prior conviction for a strike offence. She chose not to.

Offences: Murder, reckless discharge of a firearm.

Sentence: Life with a 13 year minimum non-parole period.

In sentencing Harrison Justice Mallon invoked her own version of the three strikes ‘unless manifestly unjust’ provision to avoid imposing Life Without Parole (LWOP), and instead sentenced Harrison to a minimum non-parole period of just 13 years.

This judgment is a perversion of Parliament’s clear intention to impose LWOP on murderers with a prior strike conviction in all but the most extraordinary circumstances. This case is not one of them.

In addition to his ‘strike’ convictions, Shane Harrison is understood to have a significant criminal history, including a manslaughter conviction.

The 'manifestly unjust' provision was not designed as a get out of jail free card for an offender of Harrison’s profile.

We know the three strikes law has been working up till now by the feedback received from police and former criminals.

Decisions like this from Mallon are regrettable as they undermine its strong deterrent value.

In our view a decision by a judge to flaunt the intention of the law amounts to judicial activism.

Sensible Sentencing believes the Crown must consider appealing this precedent-setting judgment.

Media Link:
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1410/S00330/sensible-sentencing-calls-for-appeal-of-judicial-activivism.htm


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Case 19 "A schoolboys' family are devasted a second time by a judges poor decision. Was justice done? You be the judge of Justice Winklemann"

Offender, 'M' (name suppressed) Victim, Stephen Dudley Judge, Helen Winklemann

If Stephen Dudley hadn’t been assaulted would he be alive today? A simple question and the answer is an obvious yes, but Justice Helen Winkelmann discharged without conviction the boy who caused his death. You be the judge.

Offences: Manslaughter, reduced to assault.

Sentence: Discharged without conviction for assault.

Justice Helen Winkelmann allowed an 19 year old to be discharged without conviction over the death of Stephen Dudley at a West Auckland High School

This decision is so wrong at all levels. The boy (M) who hit him from behind in the unprovoked fatal attack should be held accountable. Winkelmann failed to dispense justice and gave no thought to the grieving parents who have lost a son.

She accepted a seriously flawed argument from the defence that Stephen had a previously undiagnosed heart condition which may have caused his death rather than the assault.

What planet is Justice Winkelmann living on? If Stephen Dudley had not been assaulted, he would be alive today therefore (M) caused his death.

A conviction should have been the result and at least Stephens’ family would know that someone was held to account and actual justice had been dispensed.

This excuse-driven judgement by Winkelmann is another example of an out of touch and offender friendly judiciary in New Zealand.

Media Article Link:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/10358108/Stephen-Dudleys-father-erupts-at-judge-in-court

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Case 18 "A not-so-royal pardon issued by Judge Phillipa Cunningham sets a preferential standard of justice for a would-be Maori king-in-waiting."

Offender, Korotangi Paki Victims, Gisborne Public Philippa Cuningham

In the Gisborne district court Judge Cunningham accepted a defence plea from Paul Wicks QC, that “any conviction for any criminal offending is considered unacceptable” for a potential Maori king who had to have an “unblemished record.

Offences: Burglary, theft and drink driving

Sentence: Discharged without conviction for burglary and theft. Disqualified from driving for 8 months

There must be a lot of offenders in New Zealand wishing they had royal lineage. It seems that if a conviction could possibly have negative repercussions for an offender, then Judge Phillipa Cunningham is only too willing to let the person off.

Remember, this was the same judge who discharged a ‘comedian’ without conviction in 2011 and suppressed his name because she thought it would blemish his clean record and that 'he makes people laugh'. That was for sexually assaulting his own daughter.

Korotangi Paki, blew almost twice the legal alcohol limit for an adult and as he is aged under 20, Paki is subject to a zero tolerance alcohol limit and was on bail when he carried out the burglaries and is about to become a father in September. His conduct is hardly that of a responsible future Maori king and yet Judge Cunningham saw fit to praise the work he had undertaken in restorative justice and community work.

We don’t know if Paki was genuinely remorseful but what we do know is that in NZ, if you are smart and get into some form of so-called restorative justice before conviction, then the judge is required to ‘take into account’ whatever restorative justice process has taken place.

Read that as CODE for getting a reduction in the sentence, meaning time off. In this case 100%!

Public expectations are that there is ‘one justice for all people’. Not in this judges’ courtroom.

Media Article Links:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10229216/Maori-Kings-son-avoids-conviction
UPDATE-The son of the Maori King now has a conviction against his name after the Crown was successful in its High Court appeal.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11369564

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 17 "The Crown prosecutor has to tell Judge David Saunders about a victims rights in his own courtroom"

Offender, Shane Vincent Roy Dennis Victims, Three Unnamed Women Judge, David Saunders

Judge Saunders added even greater stress to a sexual abuse victim after she refused to take part in a restorative justice process. He seemed more interested in the rights of a sex offender than the rights of his victim.

Offences: Sexual abuse.

Sentence: Ten months home detention, community work, $1000 reparation.

Christchurch judge David Saunders has had a formal complaint laid against him following his reluctance to allow a victim her legal right to read her statement in court.

The victim had declined to take part in a restorative justice meeting which annoyed Judge Saunders who said he was not comfortable with her decision, “This doesn’t have a sense of balance about it. There’s no opportunity for formal interaction or apology. I am not sure what she is trying to achieve.”

Crown Prosecutor Mark Zarifeh replied “It is part of the process, part of the healing for her. That’s what the law provides.”

Victim impact statements are enshrined in law. They are not and never have been linked to a requirement to engage in any restorative justice process. Judge Saunders should know that.

The public of New Zealand expect our judges to know the law, respect the rights of a victim to say no to restorative justice and not attempt to pressure, humiliate or intimidate a victim into a decision.
Worryingly, this is not the first time Judge Saunders has put pressure on a victim in this regard.

Media Article Links:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/9936129/Judges-handling-of-abuse-victim-criticised
http://www.courtnews.co.nz/2014/04/10/child-sex-abuse-victim-speaks/#axzz2zDEOfuag

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 16 "Judge Graham Panckhurst dealt the public a losing hand when he failed to lock up a corrupt policeman"

Offender, Gordon Meyer Victim, Unnamed woman Judge, Graham Panckhurst

Former Senior Constable Gordon Meyer wriggled his way out of 18 charges down to just 2 for indecent assault and bribery and corruption. Meyer was using his position to make inappropriate sexual advances to women, as a matter of course while doing his duties.

Offences: Indecent assault, Bribery and corruption

Sentence: Nine months home detention

Justice Graham Panckhurst sentenced Meyer to just 9 months home detention on two charges which can carry a maximum of 7 years imprisonment on each count.

He failed miserably to demonstrate to the public of New Zealand that corruption in the police force cannot be tolerated.

"There is a pattern here of an officer who was, frankly, out of control. He was using his position to make inappropriate sexual advances to women, in the course of his duties, as a matter of course," Panckhurst said.

As a police officer Meyers’ behaviour should have been above reproach. Officers have a duty to the country and the force and using his position as he did in an attempt to obtain sexual favours should have been taken more seriously.

According to Panckhurst the level of gratification was "at a low level". Really? His victim certainly did not think so.

He had suffered a "fall from grace", including public vilification and humiliation and prison would be disproportionate to the offending.

We think a prison sentence would have sent a clear signal to others that this type of offending is taken extremely seriously.

As a deterrent home detention is a sick joke.

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 15 "Judge Joe Williams thinks three years for attempting to kill an unborn child is justice.  You be the judge"

Offender, Jesmond Mosen Victims, 'H' unnamed Judge, Joe Williams

Jesmond Mosen who has previous convictions for assault attempted to abort his partners’ baby by repeatedly punching her in the stomach when she refused to have an abortion. His 3 year sentence will be served concurrently with a 2 year sentence for previous offending.

Offences: Intent to procure miscarriage, assault with intent to injure and assault with a weapon.

Sentence: Three years imprisonment

Judge Joe Williams sentenced Jesmond Albert Mosen to three years' imprisonment for punching his partner in the stomach with intent to abort their baby.

The baby survived two such assaults from Mosen before it was born.

Mosen’s partner 'H' was in court for the sentencing, "I want everyone to know what he did," she said.

Mosen, 27, was sentenced to imprisonment for attempting to procure an abortion by unlawful means. He faced two other charges for earlier assaults on 'H' and was sentenced to a year's prison for each of them, to be served concurrently.

Concurrent sentencing means that this low-life has effectively been given a discounted sentence on an already ridiculously light 3 years for what could have been a murder charge and at the very least should have been attempted murder.

Mosen wrote to Justice Williams to say he was sorry and was not a violent guy. Really, what about those earlier assaults on his partner?

What part of this situation does Judge Williams not understand? Attempting to take a human life deserves a realistic sentence to send a message to the community that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated.

Mosen could now be out in 1 year for good behaviour. Disgusting.

Media Article Links:
Whanganui-man-jailed-for-three-years-for-cruel-and-dangerous-attack.

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Case 14 "Judge Peter Spiller plays monopoly in the courtroom and hands fraudster a get out of jail card."

Offender, Raewyn Dudeck Victim, Ministry of Social Development Judge, Peter Spiller

Judge Peter Spiller gifted a Cambridge woman a get out of jail free card by asking her to write him a letter of remorse expressing how sorry she was for ripping off taxpayers of nearly $200,000.

Offences: Ripping off the Ministry of Social Development.

Sentence: Home detention, community work.

Raewyn Gail Dudeck, alias Raewyn Cartwright, Fox and Gillies, was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court to the maximum of 12 months' home detention for fraudulently claiming a total of $194,106 after claiming multiple benefits over 10 years.

Judge Peter Spiller also sentenced Dudeck to 150 hours' community work and issued her a final warning.

Dudeck has the dubious honour of being Waikato's worst benefit fraudster.

As he was about to sentence 46-year-old Dudeck, Judge Spiller noticed that although he'd received character references from her friends, there was no remorse letter from Dudeck herself.

Dudeck's lawyer, Melissa James stood her ground saying she had explained the advantages of writing a letter of remorse to the judge, but she was not in the ''practice of making clients'' write letters and it should be received of their own volition. We totally agree with you Melissa James, you are a credit to the legal profession, we need more like you.

Judge Spiller still wasn’t happy to accept that this drop out showed no remorse whatsoever by holding up court proceedings to tell her that if she wrote him a letter there and then she would not go to prison. That was an offer too good to refuse for DUD Dudeck, after all home detention beats prison every time.

Since when in New Zealand is plea bargaining instigated by the judge? We expect our judges to make an assessment of the sincerity of any statement of remorse. Clearly there was none here. We think Judge Spiller needs to remind himself of what his role is in the court and stick to it.

Media Article Links:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/9286027/Fraudster-avoids-jail-after-remorse-letter

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Case 13 "Judge Priestley thinks leaving a baby blind in one eye and with likely brain damage worth just 26 months imprisonment. You be the Judge"

Offender, Polash Kabhir Victim, Baby Girl Judge, John Priestly

 Polash Kabhir got out of bed to attend to his partner’s 19 week old baby who was crying in her cot. With a closed fist he punched her in the face and went back to bed. When the child cried he then punched her twice in the head with a closed fist.

Offences: Grevious bodily harm / Attempting to dissuade a witness.

Sentence: 3 years and 3 months imprisonment.

Polash Kabhir got out of bed to attend to his partner’s 19 week old baby who was crying in her cot. With a closed fist he punched her in the face and went back to bed. When the child cried he then punched her twice in the head with a closed fist. When the crying continued he covered the baby’s mouth and nose with his hand for about one minute attempting to smother it. The child cried again and he punched the child in the head a further time with a closed fist. He then picked the baby up, shook it backwards and forwards vigorously and threw her back into her cot.

The baby was admitted to hospital where doctors recorded bleeding from her eye and the scans of her brain showed it was bleeding on both sides. The baby was rendered permanently blind in one eye and there is a strong possibility of brain damage.

Polash Kabhir later attempted to bribe the mother with $65,000 if she didn’t give evidence against him.

Justice John Priestley’s sentence comprised 2 years and 2 months for grievous bodily harm and 1 year and 1 month for attempting to dissuade a witness.

Punching a premature baby with a closed fist 4 times, shaking it, smothering it with his hand for one minute, and her back into her cot, could very easily have killed the child. It is a miracle it was not killed. The repeated and prolonged assault on a 19 week old baby can only be described as attempted murder. The assaults were repeated over a period of time and Polash Kabhir certainly knew as any reasonable adult would, that punching a baby in the head and attempting to stop it breathing with his hand would in all likelihood kill a vulnerable baby.

Attempted murder carries a sentence of up to 14 years imprisonment, but Justice Priestly gave only 2 years and 2 months for the assault. It would be fascinating to see Justice John Priestley manage the sentencing if it was his daughter or granddaughter being punched in the head until she lost sight in one eye and her brain was permanently damaged.

Justice John Priestly is a disgrace to decent society and is not fit to be Judge. Incompetence on this scale does nothing to protect innocent babies and children.

Media Links:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11115083
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/9092340/Teen-jailed-for-punching-baby
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10893085
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10850064

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 12 "Judge Gary MacAskill misdeals to road rage victim Caroline Courtney, by handing down home detention to her attacker."

Offender, Grant Carter Brown Victims, Claire Yardley Judge, Gary MacAskill

In a fit of road rage, Grant Carter-Brown bashed Caroline Courtney repeatedly to the head with a bike D-lock.  Given the use of an item as a weapon to bash Courtney to the head, the attack could easily have been fatal.

Offences: Assault with a weapon

Sentence: Four months home detention; $4,300 reparation

In a fit of road rage, Grant Carter-Brown bashed Caroline Courtney repeatedly to the head with a bike D-lock. Courtney had to be hospitalised with a fractured skull and required numerous staples to the back of her head to repair the wounds. Given the use of an item as a weapon to repeatedly bash Courtney to the head, the attack could easily have been fatal. As a result of this attack, she has had to leave Christchurch to start a new life elsewhere and could not work for three months.

Despite noting that Carter-Brown had a history of 'impaired impulse control' that had escalated (code for evidence of previous violence), Judge Gary MacAskill handed down a sentence of 4 months home detention and reparation of $4,300 for this senseless attack.

While it is acknowledged the offender needs help with his mental health, this sentence is, in the words of victim Caroline Courtney, "an absolute joke". A previous Judge indicated the offender would likely be sentenced to 3 years imprisonment or alternatively sent to a secure mental health facility. On that basis, Courtney withdrew her involvement in the process to aid in her own rehabilitation, trusting the system. How wrong she was to trust New Zealand’s 'justice' system.

Judge Gary MacAskill failed her badly in departing so significantly from what Courtney had been indicated was the likely and just outcome for the violence inflicted on her.

It also defies belief that the Police charged the offender with such a low-level offence as 'assault with a weapon' which only carries a 5 year maximum term of imprisonment. A more accurate charge to lay would have been 'wounding with intent to injure', which carries a 7 year maximum term of imprisonment and critically a 'strike' against the record of the offender, who could easily do something as serious as this to another innocent member of the public.

In May 2010 Grant Carter-Brown was convicted of driving with a blood alcohol level more than two and a half times the legal limit.

We think Judge Gary MacAskill dealt Caroline Courtney a very poor hand. You be the Judge.

Media Article Links:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7294852/Woman-bashed-by-raging-cyclist
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/7313033/Attackers-sentence-a-joke
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/4094820/10-drivers-a-day-caught-drunk

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 11 "Judge Judith Potter dealt a losing hand to Jasmatbhai Patel, giving his killer just 3 years imprisonment. Fair deal? You be the Judge."

Offender, Bio O,Brien Victim, Jasmatbhai Patel Judge, Judith Potter

Following a minor collision between their two cars in morning rush-hour traffic, Bio O’Brien aged 28, pulled Jasmatbhai Patel aged 78, from his vehicle and repeatedly assaulted Patel, before forcefully pushing him to the ground.

Offences: Manslaughter,

Sentence:  3 years imprisonment,

Following a minor collision between their two cars in morning rush-hour traffic, Bio O’Brien aged 28, pulled Jasmatbhai Patel aged 78, from his vehicle and repeatedly assaulted Patel, before forcefully pushing him to the ground. Patel hit his head on the kerb, suffering serious head injuries and died the next day. O’Brien pled guilty to manslaughter.

Enter Judge Judith Potter dealing her hand. She considered the gratuitous bullying and physical assault by a fit, strong young man on a slightly built elderly man who posed no physical threat, resulting in death worth 3 years imprisonment. That equates to a minimum term of imprisonment of 1 year, before O’Brien was allowed to apply for parole. For the reckless killing of another man. Disgusting.

Judge Judith Potter should hang her head in shame. This was a completely unnecessary and prolonged physical attack on a particularly vulnerable victim, over a minor vehicle collision. The offender had five previous convictions, including for male assaults female and threatening to kill. What a man. How tough he must be to assault women and kill the elderly.

In our view, a self-styled tough guy who has recklessly taken another man’s life should have qualified for substantially more than a 3 year maximum term of imprisonment. His early guilty plea was given far too much weight when the case against him was overwhelming. And the fact Judge Potter didn’t take into account his earlier violent offending given his acknowledged propensity for violence beggars belief. Yet O’Brien’s supposed 'remorse' was considered a mitigating factor. Ridiculous.

This sentencing decision was all about O’Brien and little about his victim. Excuses piled up against other excuses for extreme behaviour resulting in an innocent man’s death. The end result is a complete injustice.

We think Judge Judith Potter dealt Jasmatbhai Patel a very bad hand.

Media Article Links:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/2324825/Auckland-road-rage-accused-in-court
http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/killer-s-mother-in-law-defends-his-character-2880175
http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/6061044/No-parole-for-road-rage-attacker

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 10 "Judge Mark Cooper bailed a repeat offender who was facing a murder charge. The offender then bashed and stomped a toddler to death."

Offender, Michael Curran Victims, Aaliyay Morrissey Judge, Mark Cooper

Having had multiple applications for bail declined by previous Judges, and in the face of continued Police opposition, Judge Mark Cooper granted Michael Curran bail despite Curran being charged with the murder of 24 year old Natasha Hayden.

Offences: Manslaughter; Murder

Sentence: 9 years imprisonment (Manslaughter); 20 years and 6 months imprisonment (Murder) - to be served 'concurrently'

Having had multiple applications for bail declined by previous Judges, and in the face of continued Police opposition, Judge Mark Cooper granted Michael Curran bail despite Curran being charged with the murder of 24 year old Natasha Hayden and despite Curran having 22 prior convictions. That was a fatal decision. Curran’s lawyer, Paul Mabey QC certainly knew how to work the system. Shopping around for a soft-touch Judge eventually gave Curran the freedom to kill another innocent female.

While on bail for that murder charge, Curran bashed and stomped two-and-a-half year old Aaliyah Morrissey to death.

Curran had a long history of serious violent offending, starting with sexual offending when he was a teenager for which he was imprisoned. Curran had also been acquitted on a 2002 rape charge in which he was alleged to have viciously assaulted the complainant and left her badly injured. He was convicted of perverting the course of justice by convincing a friend and a family member to lie about his whereabouts at the time of the rape – thereby giving him a false alibi.

This case is one of the worst examples of poor judgement by the Judiciary we have seen. It is also a clear example of the failure of NZ’s bail law to protect us from repeat serious and violent offenders.

In the 5 years to 2012, 23 murders were committed by people of bail for previous alleged offending. An additional 21 people were convicted of homicide-related offences while on bail, such as manslaughter, attempted murder and driving causing death.

Sentencing Judge Graham Lang came through with a reasonable sentence of 'life' imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 20 years and 6 months for the murder of little Aaliyah. Only problem is, that sentence is to be served 'concurrently' (at the same time) as the sentence of 9 years imprisonment for the 'manslaughter' of Natasha Hayden. So Curran only has to serve 20 years and 6 months, not 29 years and 6 months.

Excuse me? Wasn’t the violent killing of two innocent lives worth separate sentences? Apparently not under New Zealand’s 'justice' system. We’d like to know which of these killings did Curran effectively get for free?

Michael Curran is the definition of evil. He should never see the outside of a prison cell. It’s now up to the Parole Board to ensure he never does. But the failure of Judge Mark Cooper to protect the community, and Aaliyah Morrissey in particular from this monster is inexcusable.

We think that in bailing Michael Curran, Judge Mark Cooper dealt both Aaliyah Morrissey and Natasha Hayden appalling hands. You be the judge.

Media Article Links:
http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/news/this-scumbag-killed-our-daughter-parents/986171/
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10476629
http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/news/editorial-Curran-shows-bail-law-needs-changing/1498369/
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10877752

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 9 "Justice Tony Adeane consistently deals winning hands to his community. You be the Judge"

Offender, Alan Mantell Victim, Public Property Judge Tony Adeane

Justice Tony Adeane takes a strong line against taggers, shoplifters and that ugly scourge of law-abiding society – burglars.

Offences: Tagging.

Sentence: Three days in prison.

Justice Tony Adeane consistently deals good hands to the community. He takes a strong line against taggers, shoplifters and that ugly scourge of law-abiding society – burglars.

Serial graffiti vandal Alan Mantell got a taste of Judge Adeane’s brand of medicine when he was jailed for three days while Justice Adeane decided what formal sentence he would impose on Mantell. Time in custody is a rarity for graffiti vandals.

Hopefully Justice Adeane’s no-excuses approach will see Mr Mantell 'man up' and take some responsibility for his actions.

Justice Adeane doesn’t seem to get the abuse from the criminals that Justice Merelina Burnett gets, but maybe that’s because Justice Tony Adeane is better known for his strong stance. Appear in his courtroom, and you should expect a tough time – at least as tough as he can be without getting every decision overruled by a higher court. And a few do. He can’t win every time.
But he delivers as best he can and we applaud him for that.

Media Article Links:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10748953
http://alfgrumblemp.wordpress.com/tag/judge-philippa-cunningham/
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10749125
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/5568580/Editorial-Justice-is-not-a-laughing-matter
http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2011/09/child_abuse_is_not_funny.html
http://www.infonews.co.nz/news.cfm?id=74390

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 8 "Judge Philippa Cunningham discharged without conviction, a 'man' who abused his own daughter. Unbelievable!"

Offender, Unnamed Comedian Victim, 4 year old daughter Judge, Philippa Cunningham

AAn unnamed 'comedian' sexually abuses his 4 year old daughter after she climbs into bed with him and his partner.  He later tells police he was drunk and remembers nothing of what he did.

Offences: Performing an indecent act

Sentence: None - Discharged without conviction.

An unnamed 'comedian' sexually abuses his 4 year old daughter after she climbs into bed with him and his partner. He later tells police he was drunk and remembers nothing of what he did.

Enter Judge Philippa Cunningham, who discharges the man without conviction and suppresses his name! Judge Cunningham thought it would blemish his clean record and that 'he makes people laugh'.

Funny guy? We don’t think so. Nor does his ex-partner and little girl think he’s at all funny. More like deranged, in serious need of professional help and a lengthy stint behind bars.

Note to Judge Cunningham: Most of us have clean records until we violate someone. Think about it.

Since the Judge suppressed the name of the abuser, the law prevents us from publishing it. We think name suppression law as it stands tends to protect the criminals, not the victims, and is in serious need of reform. But that’s another issue.

Perhaps Judge Cunningham’s comment was some kind of shorthand for "you have a job”. But regardless, it was in extremely poor taste and should have been left unsaid. Unfortunately, the comment appears to have been part of a strong determination by Judge Cunningham to ensure the abuser just didn’t go to jail or in fact face any penalty for his depravity. No wonder New Zealand’s rates of child abuse are an international shame. Judge Cunningham has now played her part in defending that appalling record, perhaps encouraging it.

When even the Green Party criticises the decision, you know the Judge has seriously mucked up! http://janlogie.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/letter-to-judge-philippa-cunningham/
This is a case that gained widespread notoriety for this appalling decision.

Judge Cunningham, you were a 4 year old girl once. You truly should know better. Shame on you.

We think Judge Philippa Cunningham dealt the poor wee 4 year old girl a disgraceful hand.

Media Article Links:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10748953
http://alfgrumblemp.wordpress.com/tag/judge-philippa-cunningham/
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10749125
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/5568580/Editorial-Justice-is-not-a-laughing-matter
http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2011/09/child_abuse_is_not_funny.html
http://www.infonews.co.nz/news.cfm?id=74390

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 7 "Judge Judith Potter considered less than 3 years imprisonment a fair sentence for the brutal killing of a man kicked in the head. You be the Judge."

Offender, Isaiah Tai Victim, Hawae Vercoe Judge, Judith Potter

After exchanging words with Hawea Vercoe outside a Whakatane bar, Isaiah Tai punched his victim in the head from behind.  Vercoe fell face first to the ground and lay there unconscious.

Offences: Manslaugher

Sentence: 2 years and 10 months imprisonment.

After exchanging words with Hawea Vercoe outside a Whakatane bar, Isaiah Tai punched his victim in the head from behind. Vercoe fell face first to the ground and lay there unconscious. Tai then kicked his defenceless victim to the head as he lay on the ground, in what witnesses described as akin to kicking a football. Tai calmly walked away as though nothing happened. Vercoe died in hospital soon after.

When interviewed by police, Tai initially denied punching Vercoe. Then he denied kicking Vercoe to the head. Only when CCTV evidence was produced, did he admit his brutal actions. Isaiah Tai has prior convictions.

Judge Judith Potter thought the brutal killing of a man punched from behind and then kicked full force to the head while defenceless on the ground was worth 2 years and 10 months imprisonment. What a complete joke. But it's no laughing matter for the victim or his family.

Thankfully the Solicitor-General appealed the sentence as being 'manifestly inadequate'. The Court of Appeal agreed, quashing the sentence of 2 years and 10 months imprisonment, and replacing it with a sentence of 4 years and 6 months imprisonment. While the increased sentence is an improvement on Judge Potter's pathetic original sentence, it remains woefully inadequate for a cowardly attack from behind, followed by a full-force kick to the head of a man lying defenceless on the ground.

In our view, that conduct is highly culpable and the law should deem it murder, given the reckless disregard for the victim by kicking him to the head. While the Judge in this case dealt a poor hand to the victim, the killer played Russian Roulette with the victim's life. The victim lost, the offender won. Epic fail by New Zealand's 'justice' system.

Judge Judith Potter doesn't value human life very highly. You be the judge.

Media Article Links:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10611006
http://www.rotoruadailypost.co.nz/news/haweas-killer/1018337/
http://www.rotoruadailypost.co.nz/news/hawea-vercoes-killer-jailed/1020307/
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/3767342/Justice-system-a-joke-Hawea-Vercoes-family-says
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10676708

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 6 "Justice Merelina Burnett upped the stakes when verbally abused by a one-man-crime-wave, by holding him in contempt of court."

Offender, Tukino TeRangi Victim, City of Hamilton. Judge, Merelina Burnett

Justice Merelina Burnett exhibits a great deal of common sense, in our view.  She calls it as she sees it, and can be refreshingly honest in her assessments.  She also doesn’t put up with any nonsense in her courtroom.

Offences: Aggravated Robbery / Contempt of Court

Sentence: None - discharged without conviction

Justice Merelina Burnett exhibits a great deal of common sense, in our view. She calls it as she sees it, and can be refreshingly honest in her assessments. She also doesn’t put up with any nonsense in her courtroom.

In one recent case, having sentenced aggravated robber and one-man-crime-wave Tukino Te Rangi, to 9 years in prison (with a 5 year minimum non-parole period), Justice Burnett added another 2 months and 3 weeks imprisonment to his sentence after he said “F*** you, b****” to her in response to the imposition of the sentence for aggravated robbery. Great way to win friends and influence people Mr Te Rangi! Enjoy your extra time in the clink.

Tukaki appealed his original sentence as being "manifestly excessive". His lawyer Gavin Boot downplayed the seriousness of Te Rangi's offending by saying the shotgun was not loaded and the violence was "brief and not especially serious". Yeah right Mr Boot, pointing a gun at someone and demanding money is not serious, how would you feel if the ‘boot’ was on the other foot? The Appeal Court reduced Te Rangi’s sentence by 6 months.

In another case, offender Warren Edwards tried to justify his violent assault with a meat cleaver on three men by saying: “I felt they were disrespecting me”. This prompted Justice Burnett to note that she considered that attitude “a distorted view on your sense of entitlement”. Right on Justice Burnett. Respect is earned, not given out willy-nilly. Perhaps Edwards will learn some lessons about respect while serving his 7 and a half years of imprisonment that Justice Burnett imposed for his reckless violence. We certainly hope so.
We think Justice Merelina Burnett is an excellent Judge, blessed with a great deal of common sense.

You be the Judge.

Media Article Links:
Waikato-snooker-club-invaders-sentence-cut-by-six-months

Some other examples of Justice Burnett’s work:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/7841640/Abusing-judge-backfires-for-loudmouthed-robber
http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/8509675/Man-attacks-mates-with-meat-cleaver-after-practical-joke-goes-wrong
http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/7094194/Ditch-your-girlfriend-Judge
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/652126/Windscreen-washer-jailed-for-red-lights-grope
http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/5012536/Jailed-driver-had-killed-before
http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/7732813/Man-appeals-rape-conviction
http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/8051525/Rapist-abuses-sentencing-judge
http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/7743926/Man-beat-partner-with-belt
http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/7083657/Benefit-cheat-poor-example-for-daughters-judge

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 5 "Judge Raoul Neave dealt a losing hand when Guy Hallwright caused his victim grievous bodily harm in a road rage incident. You be the Judge."

Offender, Guy Hallwright Victim, Sung Jin Kim Judge, Raoul Neave

In a road rage incident, Guy Hallwright flees the scene after running over Sung Jin Kim with his car, breaking his legs.  Hallwright is found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard, a conviction carrying a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment.

Offences: Causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard.

Sentence: 2 months and 3 weeks imprisonment, cumulative on 9 years imprisonment for aggravated robbery


In a road rage incident, Guy Hallwright flees the scene after running over Sung Jin Kim with his car, breaking his legs. Hallwright is found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard, a conviction carrying a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment.

Judge Raoul Neave sentences Hallwright to just 250 hours community work, 18 months' driving disqualification and $20,000 reparation, commenting: "What I know of your character...I consider it highly unlikely you would have driven at him." Judge Neave also commented that he considered Hallwright was a contributor to society with a 'spotless reputation' and 'impeccable character'.

Note to Judge Neave. Most of us have a spotless reputation, that is until we run over someone with our car and flee the scene while the victim writhes in pain from grievous injuries.

Judge Neave added insult to injury in criticising the media for: "A degree of prurient media interest [in the case] that can only be described as vulgar in the extreme." Is it any wonder the media wants to report on a serious incident of public interest when an arrogant Judge wants to hand down ridiculous sentences?

Judge Neave probably wishes for a system where all his decisions are suppressed and not open to public scrutiny. We can't help but think Judge Raoul Neave is New Zealand's most out-of-touch Judge. New Zealand's justice system and the public deserve better from a man paid in excess of $300,000 a year.

In deciding not to appeal this ridiculous sentence, the Solicitor-General's office has all but confirmed that the 'justice' system in New Zealand operates quite differently for the privileged class of lawyers and bankers than it does for everyone else.

It's amazing what you can get away with when you can afford a QC (Queens Counsel) to defend you.

Media Article Links:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10691481
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10816355
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10816631
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10830677
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10830973
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10834176
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10837039
http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2012/08/an_appalling_judgement.html
http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/7615903/Hallwright-victim-seeks-sentence-review

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 4 "Judge David McNaughton dealt a losing hand to Christie Marceau, which proved fatal. You be the Judge."

Offender, Akahay Chand Victim, Christie Marceau Judge, David McHaughton

Christie Marceau was kidnapped, held at knifepoint and threatened with rape and death by Akshay Chand.  Despite a written plea from Christie outlining her fears for her safety, and police opposition to Chand's bail application, Judge David McNaughton gave him bail. A fatel error of judgement.

Offences: :Murder; Kidnapping; assault with intent to sexually violate; threatening to kill or cause grievous bodily harm

Sentence:  Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity (Murder) - committed to a secure mental health facility for an undetermined period; 3 years imprisonment (Kidnapping; assault with intent to sexually violate; threatening to kill or cause grievous bodily harm)


Christie Marceau was kidnapped, held at knifepoint and threatened with rape and death by Akshay Chand. Despite a written plea from Christie outlining her fears for her safety, and police opposition to Chand's bail application, Judge David McNaughton released Chand on bail to a house within 300m of Christie's family home.

Within days of that decision Akshay Chand, armed with a knife, burst into Christie's house at 7am in the morning and repeatedly stabbed Christie to death in a frenzied attack. This case has come to epitomise public outrage at poor judicial decisions, as well as the inadequacies of the Bail Act which also contributed to this tragic crime.

If Judge McNaughton's failure to protect Christie wasn't enough, the 'justice' system went on to deem Chand not guilty of Christie's murder despite there being no dispute that he was the individual who stabbed her repeatedly to death. He was considered 'Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity'.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust are beginning a campaign to replace the verdict available to a Judge or Jury of 'Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity', with one of 'Proven, but insane' or 'Proven, but mentally ill'. It defies common sense to suggest a person who actually committed a heinous crime like this could be deemed not guilty by the system.

A major campaign called 'Christie's Law' has taken place since early 2012 seeking to strengthen the Bail Act, and give more rights and protection to victims from serious violent offenders, and introduce Judicial accountability for poor decisions. www.christieslaw.co.nz

Chand received a first strike under the 'three strikes' sentencing regime for the kidnapping, but that's cold comfort for Christie's shattered family given Chand is not considered responsible for her death under current law.
You the the Judge.

Media Article Links:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/6054208/Christie-murder-accused-in-court
http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/6483423/Slain-teens-parents-want-laws-changed
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/6970347/Christie-Marceaus-accused-killer-faces-trial
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10841171
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10843358
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10846379
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10848179
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10855716
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10867304

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 3 "You can't bluff Judge Forrest Miller.  He sentenced serial offender Nicho Waipuka to one of the longest ever sentences for manslaugher."

Offender, Nicho Waipuku Victim, Phillip Cottrell Justice Forrest Miller

Phillip Cottrell was bashed and kicked to death in a random and unprovoked attack by serial lawbreaker Nicho Waipuka, who at just 19 years of age had built up a record of 24 convictions prior to killing Phillip Cottrell.

Offences: Manslaughter (acquitted of Murder)

Sentence: 12 years, 10 months imprisonment with an 8 and a half year minimum non-parole period.

Phillip Cottrell was bashed and kicked to death in a random and unprovoked attack by serial lawbreaker, Nicho Waipuka, who at just 19 years of age had built up a record of 24 convictions prior to killing Phillip Cottrell.

Despite that appalling record of lawlessness, Waipuka had never been imprisoned. No wonder he thought he was untouchable and could bash whoever he wanted to without consequence.

While escaping conviction for murder by Jury trial, Waipuka was convicted of manslaughter for Phillip Cottrell's killing. Justice Forrest Miller handed down a sentence of 12 years, 10 months imprisonment, with a minimum non-parole period of 8 and a half years.

Justice Miller pretty much nailed it. This is one of the longest sentences ever handed down for manslaughter in New Zealand. While Waipuka should have been sentenced to "life", which is available, Justice Miller probably shied away from that due to the likelihood of it being overturned by a higher court.

However, Justice Miller recognised that Waipuka's criminal culpability was very high, and the case very close to murder. The sentence properly reflects that. Justice Miller also made a number of pertinent comments such as:

"You intended to knock him out and rob him, you deliberately kicked him in the head with that objective in mind, and injuries of the sort you inflicted can kill or maim anyone".

"People often do die from attacks to the head in a street violence situation. In my opinion, those who choose to offer that sort of violence should not be permitted to excuse themselves by claiming ignorance of the risk they are taking with someone else's life, or by pointing to some unexpected vulnerability of the victim".
Spot on Justice Miller.
The offender received a first strike under the 'three strikes' sentencing regime.

We think this was a very good judgment.

Media Article Links:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/8308096/Journalists-killer-jailed-more-than-12-years
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/hutt-valley/8414863/Assault-wilful-damage-on-killers-rap-sheet

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 2 "After a violent attack, Judge Philippa Cunningham denied justice for an 81year old when she gave the offender home detention."

Offender, Darren Murphy Fidow Victim, Patricia Sutcliffe Judge, Philippa Cunningham

Darren Murphy Fidow, who has numerous criminal convictions despite being just 18 years old, attacked 81 year old pensioner Patricia Sutcliffe. He violently robbed her, tackling her to the ground from behind and in the process breaking her arm and hip.

Offences: Aggravated robbery.

Sentence: 11 months home detention.


Darren Murphy Fidow, who has numerous criminal convictions despite being just 18 years old, attacked 81 year old pensioner Patricia Sutcliffe. He violently robbed her, tackling her to the ground from behind and in the process breaking her arm and hip. Patricia is now permanently disabled, and her quality of life shattered at a time when she should be enjoying her retirement.

While on bail for the aggravated robbery and brutal attack on Mrs Sutcliffe, the offender committed a burglary on the very same day Judge Philippa Cunningham gave him a 'sentence indication'. This guy truly respects the justice system. Not!

Despite this contemptuous display of arrogance on top of Fidow's previous violence, Judge Philippa Cunningham handed down a 'sentence' of 11 months home detention. Aggravated robbery carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment, yet Judge Cunningham didn’t think Fidow deserved even a month's imprisonment!

At least the offender received a first strike under the 'three strikes' sentencing regime.

Thankfully, the Crown appealed this grossly inadequate 'sentence'. The Court of Appeal overturned Judge Cunningham’s original sentence, and imposed imprisonment of 2 years, 5 and a half months on the aggravated robbery and burglary convictions combined. While an improvement on the original injustice, we think less than 2 and a half years imprisonment for such serious offences is still inadequate for the violence Mrs Sutcliffe suffered. However, that is largely an operation of weak sentencing law and a technicality regarding Crown appeals – the blame here does not lie with the Court of Appeal Judges, and we thank them for their ruling.

We think Judge Cunningham got this badly wrong. Fidow was not a first time offender, and his brutality against Mrs Sutcliffe could only warrant a substantial term of imprisonment if we are to consider ourselves a civilised society.
Home detention is no deterrent to contemptuous criminals.

You be the Judge.

Media Article Links:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10868985
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10872350

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JUDGE the JUDGE

Case 1 "Judge Mary Peters sentenced a violent child abuser to home detention. Was the victim dealt a losing hand? You be the Judge."

Offender, James Robertson Hall Victim, Baby Girl Judge, Mary Peters

James Hall, the father of a four month old baby, subjected her to prolonged violent abuse over a number of months. This violence included bending her legs behind her, and ultimately breaking them in numerous places.

Offences: Causing grievous bodily harm with intent; Causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard.

Sentence: 12 months home detention.

James Hall, the father of a four month old baby, subjected her to prolonged violent abuse over a number of months. This violence included bending her legs behind her and ultimately breaking them in numerous places. Other injuries included bruising to her chest, leg and pelvis.

Judge Mary Peters handed down a 'sentence' of 12 months home detention for this heinous abuse, commenting: "Anyone who thinks that home detention is a soft option should think again". Sure. That must be why offenders always appeal against home detention and seek jail instead. Yeah right.

This offending was thuggish and cowardly violence by a 'man' who should have been his daughter's protector. After considerable public pressure, including from the Sensible Sentencing Trust, the Crown appealed this ridiculous sentence to the Court of Appeal on the basis it was 'manifestly inadequate'.

The Court of Appeal agreed, quashing the 12 months home detention, and imposing a sentence of 2 years and 5 months imprisonment.

Under New Zealand's 'justice' system, which is held in contempt by criminals and much of the public, the offender will be eligible to apply for parole after serving only a fraction of his sentence. But at least the gross insult of home detention was rectified, and the offender also received a first strike under the 'three strikes' sentencing regime.

We think Judge Peters should have got this right in the first instance. That's what she's paid in excess of $395,000 per annum to do.

You be the Judge.

Media Article Links:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10826832
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/7470816/Father-who-broke-babys-legs-avoids-jail
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10846083

Latest - January 2014: Hall paroled after serving just over one year of his 2 year 5 month sentence!
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/hawkes-bay/9662893/Man-who-broke-babys-bones-paroled


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