Red Alert

It would have been prison if they weren’t Maori

Posted by on August 15th, 2009

This is a post that I’ve done soon after hearing the news but put on delay so I can think about it. Unusual for me.

I haven’t consulted with either Maori colleagues or aspiring A-Gs. I don’t think it is generally useful to criticise judges.

I live in Wainuiomata.  Like most smaller communities I know the extended  Rawiri whanau, but not well.

These five people killed their niece. It happened over an extended period.

I accept that they almost certainly would not reoffend and prison may be an expensive waste of time. And there are too many Maori in prison.

But I am certain that a Pakeha exorcism that resulted in torture and death would result in a prison term – albeit not necessarily a long one.

The fact that they weren’t sent to prison because they are Maori just doesn’t seem right to me.


121 Responses to “It would have been prison if they weren’t Maori”

  1. jane ferrall says:

    i think the whanau concerned should have spent sometime in prison for what they done, in saying that many comments ive read stating if they were pakeha they would of been sent to jail? what about when the high rarkys stuff up for instants the police they get a slap on the hand they never pay there dews they always get off. 1. drinking an driving oh hes a police officer lets sweep it under the carpet is that a form of racist or what.

  2. Jeffery says:

    Trevor – Until now I’ve never really thought much of you but good on you for having the guts to speak out against this ridiculous sentence. The facts of the matter is that this girl was murdered in probably one of the most brutal ways documented in recent New Zealand history. You guys think Sophie Elliot’s death was nasty? At least she died after only a couple of minutes. Janet Moses was tortured a murdered over a several DAY long period, she had her eyes gouged out and was essentially water-boarded to death. And what had she done wrong? Developed a mental illness it seems. Good intentions or not the prison sentence needs to reflect the absolutely horrific nature of the crime. Stupidity on part of the defendants (because that was their argument really, that they’re all stupid) shouldn’t be able to lower a sentence by this amount. The Maori elders who advised the defendants to treat Moses in this way should have been on trial as well.

  3. Bruce Rogan says:

    It is completely inconceivable to me that these people did not know what they were doing, but I am unusual in that I think I could be wrong. If it was established in the judge’s mind that they were driven by some metaphysical impulse then his only ethical option would have been to have them detained indefinitely under the mental health act until what was wrong with them was unravelled. His only alternative was to treat them as citizens of New Zealand and PUT THEM IN THE SLAMMER LIKE EVERYONE ELSE WHO KILLS SOMEONE KNOWINGLY AND GETS CAUGHT. So Trevor Mallard is right to question what the hell is going on here.

  4. Ashley says:

    The outcome of this case upset me. They “got off murder” basically. But that is the case with everything in New Zealand with the Maoris everything is “handed over to them”. This country is so racist is discusting we are at huge risk of ending up like Johannesberg, South Africa. There is one law for us and one law for the Maoris, and they still cry racism. They get more than they are entitled to and we get less. Hence my vote for John Key, i believe he will treat us as one and eventually more right will be taken from the Maori and more returned to us where it belongs.

  5. Sue Murray says:

    “The fact that they weren’t sent to prison because they are Maori just doesn’t seem right to me.”

    Gee Trevor Mallard you sound just like Trevor Loudon of New Zeal! (ACT….)

    I am a member of the Labour Party, (check it out!) have been for a long time but can’t believe that we have somebody just the same in the Labour Party! Look at all the support you are getting Trevor…from who? Hello? Look at the people who are supporting you on this blog. Racists!

    Dream on Trevor Mallard!

    Sue Murray (Ngati Pakeha)

  6. Mihirawhti Searancke says:

    @ Trevor… 44,000 medical mishaps with cases resulting in death? So white medical officer’s get away with gross neglect,leading to a death with not a Court case but a commission of inquiry. And you pick on this pathetic and tragic group of people? Who are Maori. We all would agree this groups actions were indeed grossly neglectful and ignorant on ‘makutu’. Janet has died and so too have these people in their own personal way. Jail is within and doesn’t require confinement. Move on Trevor. Read this poem written to President Obama by Alice Walker – “Dying For those who with our taxes die of torture” then read up on the case. Torture? I do not think so.

  7. Patrick A says:

    Wanna hear about racism? Maori are only 14% of the population yet make up around 40% of all cannabis arrests in the country… What are we gonna do about this Trevor?

  8. allan says:

    Thankyou Trevor Mallard for having the intestinal fortitude to tell it like it is.Your comments Im sure will be endorsed by most right thinking New Zealanders who dont dare speak out for fear of being labelled racist.The judiciary in this country can now add racist decisions to their already pathetic liberal decision making proving they are completely out of touch.The separation of maori from other New Zealanders in all aspects of society and the drive to give them a status apart from other New Zealanders is almost complete.

  9. Trevor Mallard says:

    @ Sue actually the support both through this blog – on The Standard and by phone and email has been broadbased. Certainly some of the people and some of the tone of support I would prefer not to have. But nothing that makes me think my original post was wrong.

  10. Trevor Mallard says:

    The Crown law office have now publicly indicated that they will not appeal the sentences. I think that is ok, notwithstanding my view that they are out of line. An appeal would probably take over a year – it is pretty hard to turn over a judge’s decision in this sort of case, and the extended family need some certainty so they can put this whole horrible episode behind them.

  11. Murray says:

    To my way of thinking, manslaughter is manslaughter, regardless of ethnicity! These Maori may not have intended to kill their niece but the fact is they did and therefore they should serve time in jail.

    They may have been ignorant, naive and stupid but the fact they are Maori should not preclude their being given a jail term.

    This is a sour reflection on the judiciary indeed!

    Well done Trevor for having this guts to speak what a lot of us are feeling!

    (p.s. I’m and Ex-National Supporter)

  12. Tom says: says:

    Fistly good on you Trevor hopefully now you have spoken up you won’t stop there this country needs to wake up,
    This behaviour of double standards has to stop.

    Ashley I must admit I am surprised you are still supporting John Key from where I am sitting he is just as guilty @ bending over for these people and saying to them go on shaft me as well like you have the rest of the country he is just as gutless as the people giving all the hand outs.

  13. Alice says:

    I am a National supporter and voted for John…pause for the howls…ok, but on this issue I have to agree with you Trevor. I cannot understand why they do not have a jail sentence. Jeffery’s comments were also valid. They tortured a family member to death because they were idiots and left her body to lie there for 9 hours while starting on another member of the family! What is wrong here? If they are not jailed then they should at least be locked up in a mental health clinic somewhere not hanging in the same tight little group that all decided this was a good idea in the first place! And sadly it does seem that in this case they got away with it because they were maori. We have seen these sorts of cases before and they were all jailed, not for a long time but still jailed so why not here? I happen to have maori blood and call myself a New Zealander and I do wonder what would happen to 5 catholic pakeha who drown someone in an exorcism which is part of their belief system? Community service? I doubt it.

  14. Eric says:

    Reading through this blog has been a revealing, and occassionally disappointing, exercise. First off, I have to congratulate Trevor Mallard for having the courage to speak his thoughts, despite knowing he would be laying himself open to personal criticism. Without people who are prepared to speak their mind when they feel a injustice has been performed, this world would be a sadder and more corrupt place.
    Secondly – it is essntial that one law is applied, and SEEN to be applied, to all citizens of a country, irrespective of race, colour, creed or political leaning. The only time there should be a modification of this is where it is proven that a perpertrator is mentally unsound. By apparantly treating the defendants in this case differently to the way that a large percentage of the population of New Zealand see as leniency due to ethnicity will only serve to confirm to those amongst us who already believe it that Maori are ‘untouchable’ when it comes to the law of the land. Not a good result for either Maori or New Zealand as a whole.
    It is essential, for long-term peace and harmony, that the law is seen to be applied equally and fairly to all.
    Unfortunately the above will be seen by some a my support of you, and as such it would appear that ‘Sue’ will therefore brand me as a racist. These sort of insults are so easy to hand out and, once said, so difficult to reconsider. So please Sue, stop and think before attaching a lable to someone you have never met and have no knowlege of.

  15. dlivefromthehive says:

    Filenote to Trevor:Lets get on with building this nation,lets not try to unravel our social frabric by sumising what would have been the outcome if these people were Pakeha.What was the point of your little exercise Trev, to remain relevant?

  16. Tim Gray says:

    Trev – you have the overwhelming support of the nation with with observation. I’m afraid the nay-sayers are simply being precious.

    Remember Lesley Martin? The nurse convicted for manslaughter and imprisoned for euthanasing her terminally ill mother?

    Compare with a family group, with genuinely held beliefs they were doing right (reserve judgment on that) who torture and kill one of their own and then, knowing they have already killed a family member, continue to impart the same torture on another young teenager.

    Both cases resulted in manslaughter convictions, yet it was Ms Martin who went to prison.

    As for Mr Key’s contrarial stance (apparently for the sake of being seen to take a different tack to Labour) and the people accusing your of overstepping the line in passing comment – recall they are the same zealots whose Justice Minister criticised Chief Justice Elias in her *comments* regarding imprisonment.

    There is a deep hypocrisy in all this, but good on you for being the one to front it. You truly are an asset to the Party.

  17. Jake says:

    Come on Trevor…I recall you having punched a middle aged maori fella and getting away with it. Now if a middle aged Maori man punched a white fella at his place of employment guess who would be fired…yep that’s right fired not demoted as you were. Funny how the middle aged white fella is treated differently isn’t it Trev.

  18. Alyson says:

    Have you actually read the full judgement Trevor?

    Trevor it is not appropriate for politicians to comment on the judiciary. It’s a little thing called seperation of powers.

  19. [...] MP Trevor Mallard is now facing criticism himself for comments he made on the Labour blog, suggesting the only reason they were given such a lenient sentence is due to their Maori [...]

  20. liz forster says:

    Congratulations Trevor Mallard, You are stating exactly what I,all my family & friends feel.
    Recalling a Dom/Post article when the Judge was handing out these ludicrous sentences. His words were “No one had suffered more than the family”. EXCUSE ME: What about poor JANET MOSES. Her suffering at the hands of her so called family would have been beyond comprehension.
    Another question, who is going to explain to her poor children in the future as to the cause of their young Mum’s death.
    Bring on JUDGE ADEANE from the Hawkes Bay.
    Justice in N.Z. is beyond belief.

  21. Lionel Anderson says:

    This is a post that I’ve done soon after hearing the news but put on delay so I can think about it. Unusual for me.( Do we need to know this, or why do we need to know this? Do we need to know you are trigger happy maybe? Unusual that you thought about it, or there was a delay?)

    I haven’t consulted with either Maori colleagues or aspiring A-Gs. I don’t think it is generally useful to criticise judges. (Are you telling us this article is ill-prepared?and why didnt you? And when is it generally useful to criticise Judges?)

    I live in Wainuiomata. Like most smaller communities I know the extended Rawiri whanau, but not well. (Irrelevant)

    These five people killed their niece. It happened over an extended period. (Yes, but motive is key here, otherwise there would be no differences in sentencing, no flexibility)

    I accept that they almost certainly would not reoffend and prison may be an expensive waste of time. And there are too many Maori in prison. (Are you serious? Do you mean the weighting of sentences have something to do with how many Maori are in prison? How many is too many? How many non-Maori are too many? Prison is expensive and generally a waste of time regardless of ethnicity but necessary)

    But I am certain that a Pakeha exorcism that resulted in torture and death would result in a prison term – albeit not necessarily a long one. (Why would you be so certain? Is that because there are less Pakeha in prison?)

    The fact that they weren’t sent to prison because they are Maori just doesn’t seem right to me. (Who actually said this Trevor? Who on earth are you talking to? I hate to say it, but what would seem right to you? And does it really matter what you think? Tell us by all means)

    Bold claims need to be rationally justified and not just fired out into the open without a framework of coherence or fluidity of thought, especially when personal emotions enter the fray. What happenned is a tragedy any way you look at it, and this was not covered at all, instead you exploited this tragedy as a political tool to promote yourself and your ideals. Condemming the five, is one thing, have you spared a thought for those that remain? Where is the balance in this article?