Friday, December 30, 2011

Accused


The youth accused of the attack on a young child in Turangi last week appeared in the Taupo Youth Court yesterday. Given the intense public interest in the case, it's no surprise that an angry crowd turned up, as the Herald reports:

Public fury at a teenager charged with sexually violating a 5-year-old girl in a Turangi campground threatened to erupt into violence as he was escorted from court.

One man shouted at the boy, a 16-year-old from Turangi, to show his face as he was led between the police station and courthouse and called him a "scumbag".

Family members, some whom told the boy they loved him as he walked past, had to be held apart from angry members of the public.

The boy's father was heard to lay the blame on alcohol.

The family, some of whom arrived with young children, refused to talk to reporters outside the courthouse and at times hid their faces with their hoods and hands to avoid being filmed or photographed.

They filled one side of the public gallery, with reporters on the other, as the teenager was led into the dock at Taupo Youth Court, facing charges of sexual violation, aggravated wounding and burglary.

Dressed in baggy jeans and a white T-shirt, he trembled and fought back tears as he pointed out family members to Judge Jocelyn Munro and later clasped his hands behind his back, at times sobbing loudly.

Judge Munro remanded the youth in custody for two weeks, suppressing details. The accused did not seek bail.


Let's make one thing clear from the outset. One of the key features of our criminal justice system is the presumption of innocence. As galling as these crimes against a defenceless toddler may have been, this youth is entitled to be regarded as innocent until such time as he is proven guilty. He is also entitled by law to be represented by Counsel who will provide him with the best defence that they are able to conduct.

As sickened and as angry as we may be by the attack on the five-year-old, we must acknowledge that it is the obligation of the Crown via the Police to prove the charges against this youth. That notwithstanding, the outpouring of anger is entirely normal, and it shouldn't be unexpected. If he is subsequently found to be guilty of these crimes, the youth will be on the receiving end of plenty more of it; there's a distinct pecking order behind bars, and those who offend against children are right at the bottom of it.

Rather than having a night out with his mates to see the coming-in of 2012, we suspect that this youth will be in for a very sobering time until his next Court appearance. If the Police have got the right man (the presumption of innocence again), this youth will be learning a very stark lesson about consequences.

13 comments:

Murray Guy said...

The sole focus on the perpetrator (16 year old) for blame ensures crimes of this type will continue unabated.

We forget that a cake is the product of a cook, the sum total of the ingredients and how they were amalgamated.

Pete George said...

"Mr Loper confirmed that the boy was brought to the police station by a family member."

It will be interesting to find out how much this indicates that the family have fronted up, or that the suspect has fronted up with support from his family.

This doesn't prove guilt, but it does show they accepted resonsibility that the suspect should make himself available to the police, and it was done voluntarily.

Keeping Stock said...

Welcome aboard Murray!

I couldn't agree more with your comment; all that focus on a permissive society where anyone can do anything if it makes them feel good has come back to bite us on the bum. Seems to me that we are paying a heavy price for tampering with the natural order of things.

Keeping Stock said...

@ Pete - point well noted; even kids from stable backgrounds go off the rails when the wrong kinds of influences are bought to bear.

nellie said...

I agree completely with your assessment KS. In particular your emphasis on 'presumed' innocent until found guilty. It really gets up my nose when people say accused 'are' innocent until found guilty, either they did it or not and proving it becomes the test.

MY take on my history and life, as seen through my eyes. said...

Good blog KS. We have, as society, lost sight of accountability. If the family took this boy to the Police then some accountability is again found, and a credit to our society. Lets hope a defense lawyer doesn't come along now and entice the lad to plead not guilty.(presuming he is guilty because he fronted up)
I take my hat off to the family/people who have taken him to the Police.(If that's in fact what happened)

Robert Winter said...

Is a sanitised version of a lynch-mob 'normal' and, therefore, acceptable behaviour? Do you really believe that mob behaviour like this is 'normal'? Or is some mob behaviour privileged?

Keeping Stock said...

In a case such as this Robert, it is entirely normal. I'm not arguing that it is acceptable, and I have gone to some lengths to remind readers that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. To suggest that I am endorsing this behaviour is incorrect.

Quintin Hogg said...

KS I agree with Robert Winter's point.

Scratch a New Zealander and you find a member of a lynch mob, sadly.

I just hope that those at court yesterday where themselves without sin.

Kelly Formely of NZ said...

I still question a few things... One in particular:

The mother of the child described a man yet this person (clearly a boy) is not what most people would mistakenly describe as a "man".

"Gang members" having a party up the road, also screams "Prospecting" to me... more specifically the way he "voluntarily" turned himself in (with family assistance)be interesting to see him when he comes out of jail with a shiny new gang patch on his back and a new vintage car to boot.

I also believe the family were very careless, leaving the children unaccompanied in the caravan while "toileting" in the first place (Madeline McCann comes to mind)

This was an unfortunate incident and I hope justice will be served on that person responsible....

Blair said...

The fulla did this for a gang patch. That's why the justice system will always be inadequate in dealing with him.

Hopefully one of the other prisoners will end his sad pathetic life, we will be rid of him, and it might put off young prospects from thinking a Mongrel Mob patch is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Our politicians and judiciary are very soft on all crime so it's no wonder society is infected with career criminal families and gangs.

Most (I would like to say all but the last weeks prove all is an exaggeration) people are disgusted with the crime.

Our police force have a history of lynching the nearest bystander (Thomas, Bain, Ellis, to name a few).

Innocent unti proven guilty. If he is guilty I hope he's castrated, incarcerated, then later hung.

A really sad thought in my mind is that if found guilty he will probably have an improved standard of living (at the tax payers expense), some counselling (at tax payer expense), free gym membership (at tax payers expense), AND his new Mighty Mongrel Mob patch (do we pay for that as well?).

MJ said...

Last time, a serious case was when a young lad killed another young Scottish girl while walking home in Taupo. Remember this? And now, another youth did the thing with a 5-year-old girl in Turangi. Thank god, he did not kill her but what the fuck he was thinking when it comes to having his wish for sex with a 5-year-old!! I feel embarassed for those two Maori bastards. I am a Maori woman. My heart goes to that little girl and her whanau. They came to New Zealand for Christmas holiday, but I also feel sad because I don't think they have a great holidays, especially what had happened in Turangi. Everyone makes silly mistakes, but what those thugs did to Scottish and European girls was unacceptable. Well, it was a good thing that the 16-year-old boy has confessed with the police and he is willing to take consequences.