The Herald reports that convicted pack-rapist Bob Schollum is to be released on parole on a date withheld by the Parole Board. Schollum was sentenced on 5 August 2005 to eight-and-a-half years' imprisonment. As of today, he has served three years, three months and 22 days of that sentence. The Sensible Sentencing Trust's offender database carries a profile of Schollum, and in particular, references to the sentencing notes from Justice Young, of which these paragraphs are particularly relevant (our emphasis added):
You Hales, were also present, although on the veranda, while she was handcuffed, raped and sexually violated by you McNamara, Shipton, Schollum and another. You Hales then had the chance to intervene. Even though you were young at 18 years of age you knew what was happening was terribly wrong. Each of you raped this defenceless woman, as did a fifth man. It was a pack rape in the worst sense. She was, in her words, treated by you like a “piece of meat”. After the rape you Shipton and Schollum visited the complainant at the caravan and you Shipton visited her at the motel. She understood (and I understand) the message that she was being given by you by that visit. You were the police. There would be no complaint. You knew where she lived. And your intimidation worked. She did not complain.
Her life changed, her personality changed, she paid a high price for your brutality to her, but eventually she had the courage to come forward and complain. You Shipton and Schollum were corrupt police officers. You used the authority the community entrusted in you to do right. Your arrogance, in my view, knew no bounds. You were confident you could commit a serious crime and get away with it because you were policemen – and you almost did. These were deeply disgraceful acts. You McNamara also used your position, again one the community entrusted in you. You used the veneer of respectability that the position of head lifeguard gave you to manipulate this young woman. Your conduct was a disgrace….'
Justice Young is right. These were deeply disgraceful acts, committed by corrupt policemen. Corrupt policemen who have served their sentences at the Te Moenga unit at Wanganui Prison, a unit inhabited by paedophiles, witness protection scheme inmates and jailed police officers. A unit seperate from others at Wanganui Prison. A unit inhabited by those who would have a tough time amongst the general prison population.
Schollum is now free to resume his life in the community. Has he been punished? No, not in Keeping Stock's opinion. Has he suffered the same traumatic, life-changing effects that his victim did? Like hell he has!
There is something inherently wrong with our judicial system when a person like Schollum or his mate Shipton can abuse their authority to this degree, yet be released from custody in the twinkling of an eye. Keeping Stock hopes that the tough talk from National and Act during the election campaign manifests itself into action, and that thugs such as Schollum and Shipton are forced to face the full consequences of their actions.