Please don’t make me side with the rednecks

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There was an opinion piece that I saw in my timeline today by NZHerald columnist Lizzie Marvelly about the disgusting case of Nikolas Delegat assaulting a female officer in Dunedin and receiving 300 hours of community service and paying $5,000 in reparations as his punishment.

Let me state this from the outset, I think the New Zealand justice system is imperfect, sometimes the threshold and directives for sentencing are too lenient and at other times they are too harsh. I also believe firmly that minorities, and especially Maori, are treated unfairly and disproportionately severely when sentenced as compared to non-Maori. Marvelly’s own NZ Herald, pointed this out earlier this week when it showed that “Maori imprisoned at twice rate of Europeans for same crime

So, if you read nothing else from this post, be aware that I am in the camp that thinks the Justice System is stacked against Maori and that often for others, especially the privileged, the system is too lenient.

The problem with Mavelly’s opinion piece is that the Nikolas Delegat case is not an example of that in the current system.

To be clear, I do think Delegat’s sentence is too lenient, but with the current stipulations for the crime he committed, he did not get special treatment because of his families wealth which is the main crux of Marvelly’s piece. This also means comparing it to other sentencing becomes problematic because Delegat’s sentence was proportionate, in the current Justice System’s climate, to his crime.

Lizzie Marvelly wrote about the difference between the sentence of Delegat to Hautahi Kingi, a young Maori boy in Whanganui in 2007 who, according to Marvelly. “attacked a male friend who had recently taken up with his girlfriend, causing a bloody nose and a cut lip”. The truth is, again according to Marvelly’s NZ Herald, is that with a friend “acted as street thugs engaging in street fighting. There was also an element of premeditation in that Kingi had sent threatening text messages to his intended victim the week before.” So according to the record it was a bit more than a off the cuff punch up.

Needless to say it appears to have been Kingi’s first offence so when he was sentenced to 5 months prison one could start to look at the bias inherent in the justice system where Maori are sent to prison and non-Maori are not, unfortunately for that narrative there was also another person who was sentenced with Kingi for four months…and my investigations point to him as being Pakeha. If my investigations are correct and the Kingi sentence was the inherent racism in the system, why was his friend also sentenced? On top of that the prison sentence was then overturned and both parties had their convictions quashed, and served 200 and 250 hours of community service. This means they actually got an easier sentence that Nikolas Delegat. What this points to is a rogue judge who tried to instill a sentence that was inappropriate, as opposed to the system being broken.

The truth is that Lizzie Marvelly and I, it would appear, are in the same camp when it comes to Maori being sentenced more harshly than ‘the rest’, but I said it on ODTtv this week, and I’ll say it again, this is not an example of that.

The maximum sentence that Nikolas Delegat could have received for this crime, under the current system, was 400 hours community service as experienced Christchurch defense lawyer Grant Tyrrell pointed out on RNZ National this week. He received 300 hours and had to pay $5,000 in reparations…based on the criteria for sentencing that is not a ‘slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket’…that’s close to a maximum sentence.

If you now want to have a debate on the whole Justice system being too lenient and Mr. Delegat’s case being an example of that, then I am with you but please stop comparing this case, today, to the injustice that Maori face in NZ courts on a daily basis.

What Marvelly’s piece does is give oxygen to those who don’t want to acknowledge that Maori and treated more severely in the Justice System than non-Maori because, again, this is not an example of that. So what Marvelly’s good intentions do, is actually give all those rednecks and racists a valid comeback because in this instance she, and many others, have got it wrong. And what that leads me to do it sit on the same side of the argument as those disgusting people and I don’t want to be here, so please, please…I beg of you…stop it.

 

Colin Kaepernick. A true Patriot.

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The freedom of expression and free speech are just two of the cornerstones on which America builds it society.

Often we will hear commentators on the television telling the world one of the reasons America is ‘the greatest country in the world’ is because of their ‘freedoms’.

It would seem from the events of the past few days surrounding Colin Kaepernick that the truth is those same ‘commentators’ really mean that those cornerstones are great ‘so long as they align with me and my narrative.”

For those living under a rock Colin Kaepernick is the quarter back for the San Francisco 49ers and in the weekend he used his right of free expression and ‘speech’ to make a point during the national anthem. He did not stand up.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color, to me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Colin Kaepernick has used his freedom of expression, and freedom of speech to highlight an issue in American society where black citizens are being killed disproportionately by police officers and more often than not, those police officers are not held accountable.

Since then America has lost it’s mind because apparently this one form of free expression and speech is a step to far for many.

Donald Trump had some advice for the young professional athlete

“I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try. It won’t happen.”

But what people seems to be missing is that if America holds onto these ‘freedoms’ as an essential part of who they are as a country, then Kaepernick is in the perfect country to make this protest, and in some other countries, who don’t have those ‘freedoms’ he couldn’t do it.

I find the American devotion to the flag to be incredibly odd. To me the US seems cult like in it’s infatuation with the importance of the flag and approach the flag in a fervor that resembles a religious experience.

It probably stems from the fact, that there is actually statutes dictating how people should address the flag.

“During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in (military) uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.”

Title 36 (section 171) of the United States Code

I look at countries like North Korea, countries where there are no ‘freedoms’, countries where a tyrannical dictator makes the rules that everyone must follow on pain of death and that is where I would expect to see legislation like the Code above, not in the land of the free.

It would seem to me you can either have a society that has rules and statutes that you must follow and if you deviate there are significant negative consequences, or you have a society where people are free to express themselves. I don’t think you can have both.

It seems that many in America want to place a North Korean ideology on Colin Kaepernick of control and expectation of a way he must act, whilst still trying to claim that the society is built and functions on some great rules for life like the right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

Well, which is it America?

What I guess I am saying is that because of the ‘freedoms’ that Americans hold onto as such an important part of what makes them ‘American’, then the protest against the Star Spangled Banner and the American Flag is the most American thing that Colin Kaepernick could possibly do

Police ramping up the hype to arm themselves

TVNZ reported tonight that the incidents of police confiscating illegal firearms is at record highs. Notice the title of the item is “Significant spike in illegally owned firearms” but the graphic we were shown demonstrates both “legal AND illegal firearms seizures” from 2010/2011 to 2014/2015.

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TVNZ Graphic on both legal and illegal firearms seized

How many of the 1504 firearms in 2014/2015 that were seized were illegal please? Surely that’s what the story is about.

We then get the voice over that confiscation of “the number of cut down shotguns has increased four fold.”

So when a media outlet doesn’t mention numbers, but goes to percentage increases it always raises a red flag with me because a four fold increase could be from one confiscation to four confiscations, or it could be from one hundred to four hundred, the devil is in the detail.

Currently the Police get about 1.7 million calls per year to their call center, from that there are 1500 firearms seized each year, of which we don’t know how many are illegal and we don’t know how many firearms are seized per call out, in other words there may be six firearms taken from one incident. But as you can see growing from roughly 1,000 firearm confiscations to 1,500 over five years out of potentially 1.7 million call outs does not support Greg O’Connors statement that “all of a sudden there’s a lot more firearms around out there.”

To their credit TVNZ does suggest that the number of call outs that involve firearms are “less than 0.5% of total recorded crime” although I wager that’s probably a little high of you think that 1,500 firearms confiscations out of 1.7 million calls is only 0.09% but I guess I can give them credit to painting the picture that this is not as dramatic as perhaps Mr. O’Conner is painting it.

Overall I am really concerned about this kind of story, it’s not actually about arming the police to me, it’s about how the media disseminates information and passes it onto us. It seems that TVNZ hasn’t asked the pertinent questions here or, if they have asked them, the Police haven’t given them the answers, either way it’s a lose for the NZ public in being informed.

It’s also completely clear now that Greg O’Connor is hell bent on arming the Police and for my part I am open to that conversation but only when all the information is on the table and the hype and hysteria about ‘four fold increases’ is turned into metrics that are open and obvious for the public of NZ to enable us to make an informed decision.

Yahria Law. The only way forward according to Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee

Yahria Law becoming more common

What is Yahria Law you might ask, well just think of Sharia Law for Christians. ‘Yahweh’ plus ‘Sharia Law’ equals Yahria Law and it becoming more and more common.

For clarity, Sharia Law is the body of Islamic law. The term means “way” or “path”; it is the legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Islam. Many in the West see Sharia Law as a great concern as who would want a religion, ignoring the laws of the land, and forcing citizens to adhere to a code or belief system that they didn’t buy into.

Welcome to the world of Yahria Law a ” legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on [a particular form of] Christianity”

We are seeing it more and more, Western societies are warning of the ‘dangers’ of Islam, especially amongst the Conservative Christian section of that society, but are happy to support Christian views being forced on their own society when it flows against the tide of public opinion or even at times when contravenes the law.

If you do not support Sharia Law coming into your society, then you cannot support Yahria Law as it’s exactly the same thing…only you agree with it and that’s the problem.

If you don’t support a law/ordinance/by-law/society norm where someone uses the words “because I’m a Qur’an believing Muslim” as a reason to ignore it, then really you can’t support the tagline “because I’m a bible believing Christian”. The other option is to support both. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

You either let anybody use the tagline “it’s my religious freedom” or you let nobody use it.

If you support religious freedom, especially when it contravenes a law, you will, for example, have to support the Rastafarian society using marijuana as part of their religious ceremonies. You will have to support some Mormons having multiple wives. You’ll have to support Muslims praying five times a day…and the list goes on. If you wouldn’t want to support the above examples…and millions of others from people with religious beliefs…then you can’t say “I won’t supply marriage certificates to Gay couples under God’s authority” when your highest court has made it legal for LGBTI couples to marry in your country.  If you are not happy with a business person, a civil servant, an elected official citing Mohammed, or Buddha, or Ganesha as their reason for refusing your business, or your civil rights, then you cannot cite God as to why you do it. Period.

We have seen Yahria Law in all it’s terrible splendour in America since SCOUTUS legalised Same-Sex Marriage with bakers breaking the law, venue owners discriminating illegally and even publicly elected officials refusing to carry out their legal duties by denying gay couples marriage certificates. It’s disgusting and I want to state publicly that I support the fines and penalties put upon those people breaking the law by denying people their civil rights.

There’s a super easy test to see if you are on the right side of the law (let alone history), if you offer that good or service to the general public, and you wouldn’t/couldn’t refuse it to a, let’s say, interracial heterosexual couple, you cannot deny it to an LGBTI couple. If you are a private club, or organisation and don’t offer those goods or services to the general public then you can do what you like (pretty much).

So here’s the solution for those of you, like Mike Huckabee for example, who appear to want to have a society made up with Yahria Law. Form a private group, a sect if you will, a closed society, remove yourself from the outside world and do it. Make the society with large walls so no one from the ‘outside world’ can get in, and live your life…but if you want to be in society, especially as someone who provides a good or a service to the general public, then you need to abide by that society’s laws.

The more I see individuals trying to perpetrate Yahria Law the more I am reminded of the words of Thomas Jefferson when he wrote to the Danbury Baptists saying “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.” No law is to be made using religion as its source and, as I said earlier, you can only interpret the above statement giving you religious freedom above and beyond anything else…if you grant it to every other religion.

This post is the Genesis of the phrase #YahriaLaw, as of this post the phrase does not exist anywhere else on the internet. Use it well.

Yahria Law

UPDATE 12.30 10th September (NZST)

I’m wondering where the rally and support is from the likes of Mike Huckabee for this US citizen who has just been released from her job for not wanting to serve alcohol as it contravenes her religious beliefs…oh, she’s Muslim so her religious freedoms can be ignored #caseinpoint #YahriaLaw

Why the Government, the Opposition and the Media may help Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail walk

On the weekend when the story broke of the diplomat invoking diplomatic immunity to flee potential charges over a sexual assault I was amazed and concerned as to the tone of the reporting, and the comments made by many as to the alleged incident. Notice I used the word alleged there, I did that on purpose and it’s what many who have spoken publicly have not done, which now may be a genuine defence for Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail’s lawyers.

We have a think in our justice system called Sub Judice where “it is generally considered inappropriate to comment publicly on cases sub judice, which can be an offence in itself, leading to contempt of court proceedings.” This is also linked quite closely to the legal requirement for a court case that all accused are “innocent until proven guilty” but in a more basic way it’s all about not speaking publicly about a case that may influence the jury, and therefore the outcome of that case. It applies only when charges have been brought so I acknowledge this technically isn’t in breach of that convention, but I would argue that there has already been an atmosphere created that may not allow Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail to get a fair hearing. If someone cannot get a fair hearing…they walk.

Some specific comments that I would point to.

John Key

“Our hands are effectively tied, but we still expect justice for the victim”
“we will do everything that we possibly can to make sure this person is held to account”

David Shearer

“…justice is not done for the victim here and we don’t see that that person is brought properly to justice”

Now these statements (which are a couple of many, many public comments made by politicians, talkback hosts, bloggers, commentators etc…) paint a picture of justice needing to be done for a victim, If there is a victim there is a crime and they are associating that crime to the diplomat. They are saying he committed the crime and needs to face justice for the victim.

A quick Google on the subject around the time the news broke shows many headlines that talk in the affirmative of a crime being committed and linking it to the diplomat.

HeadlinesNow this post is in now way a support of the diplomat, or a defence of attacks on women so please don’t see it that way, I am purely looking at how this may, or may not proceed in a legal sense. I am left wondering, due to the environment flamed by John Key, Murray McCully, David Shearer and all in the media who have inadvertently, or blatantly, convicted Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail of committing a crime, have now also given his lawyer the ability to argue that his client cannot get a fair hearing.

And I think he may have a point.

The problem with vilifying the Roastbusters

Roastbusters-1200First let me state that this post in no way supports the alleged actions of the group that has labelled themselves the Roastbusters, what this posts objective is to demonstrate to all New Zealanders the folly of convicting these guys before due process has occurred, and in fact the danger of not getting a conviction if these allegations are true and it goes to trial.

In New Zealand we have a Bill of Rights that entitles every person, no matter how low on the totem pole, the right to a fair trial.

Amongst other specifics, section 25 lists these things as a ‘minimum right’

  • the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial court
  • the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law

So far over the past few days we haven’t just heard ‘Owen from Nelson‘ condemn these young men as ‘criminals and rapists’ on late night talkback, but the Police, MPs, Rape Prevention organisations, Bloggers, Commentators, Educators and more.

Here are some examples from just the past 24 hours

  • The Police on Duncan Garner, question, “Do you think this could be rape?“, answer, “Yes!
  • MP Carol Beaumont “This fact that they think it is okay to stupefy young women by using alcohol, and then rape them, is completely wrong.
  • National Rape Collective said on OneNews they were committed ‘criminal behaviour
  • The police said on TVNZ news last night that they believed their ‘behaviour was criminal‘.
  • A Principal of one of the Roastbusters old schools said that it’s wrong that “the legal system does not offer protection” to the girls.

The danger with these kinds of statements, the statements that convict these young men before due process, is that we could be setting up a scenario where they do not, and can not get a fair trial.

As a broadcaster you are always warned about making statements prior to a trial that could be used by a defence team to say that their client cannot get a fair trial. When someone is charged with a most horrendous murder of a child, and the talkback board lights up with people wanting to ‘string them up‘ or using terms against that person like ‘murderer‘ the correct process is to not allow those comments to go to air. Now in this case there are no charges so it’s not quite as black and white as that, but my concern is that if these alleged crimes have been committed, then our society has been allowed to be whipped into such a frenzy against these young men, that there is no way they could get a fair trial and it would get thrown out of court.

I believe these young men will end up facing charges as all it takes is one girl to come forward and make a complaint and I think one will, which makes the idea of allowing due process to take place all the more important.

The danger of vilifying these young men, convicting them in the court of public opinion, and those with authority such as police, politicians and people of varying influence using terms such as ‘rapist’ before a trial happens, is that if they have indeed committed those crimes all our accusations now may lead to their case being dismissed.

Goodbye ACT. John Banks to stand trial

It began with Kim Dotcom and ends with John Banks facing charges over “over allegations that he falsified his 2010 mayoral campaign return.”

What will this mean, well surely if the deal wasn’t sealed before it is now that ACT is gone from the 2014 election making it even harder for National to be re-elected. ACT and the Maori Party are somewhat in disarray and no matter how keen and confident they are I don’t think the Conservatives are able to step into the fold to take ACT’s place.

John Banks gone, ACT gone, Maori Party to lose a couple more seats, no coalition partner to take their place. Greens increasing everyday and Labour a small resurgent period since Cunliffe comes on board makes it an interesting 12 months.

I called it several months ago albeit with some different variables but I’ll stand by it and say it again now. Labour to win in 2014.

UPDATED 5.30pm

John Banks has resigned from all this ministerial portfolios

Thanks for the precedence Kim Dotcom

I think there is a lot to thank Kim Dotcom for.

Personally I’d like to thank him for making me feel small (and there ‘aint that many people who can do that) but there is also much the country can thank him for and the most obvious is showing up the flaws in the GCSB and how our spies operate, although I think we shouldn’t thank anyone for where it’s gone from there into new legislation.

I would also like to thank Kim Dotcom for one more thing, I want to thank him for being the unwilling catalyst for the legal precedence that we will all be able to use and abuse for years to come to get out of many infringements that we made by mistake.

TVNZ reported last night that no charges would be laid against anyone at the GCSB and Detective Superintendent Peter Read told media “that in spite of the GCSB committing one breach under the provisions of the Crimes Act, no criminal “intent” by the GCSB could be established.

The official statement by DS Peter Read was

“While GCSB staff did commit the act prohibited by section 216B of the Crimes Act 1961, they did not have the necessary intent to satisfy the elements of the offence and be considered criminally liable,”

In other words because it was a mistake, and there was no intent, no one would be liable.

So, next time you don’t intend to speed…it just accidentally creeps up, or genuinely forget to file your GST, or you infringe on a law genuinely by mistake or misunderstanding there is a legal precedence for you to say “well officer, much like the GCSB, I had no intention of committing that crime, it was an accident” and they surely must be obliged to let you off…he says sarcastically

Syria…why now West?

I chatted with my wife last night and when I asked this question I saw the horror on her face until I had the chance to explain my thoughts, so please give me two minutes of your time and don’t jump to the first most obvious conclusion about this post.

Why is the West showing concern now that there has been ‘chemical attacks’?

This is when you breathe and give me a chance to explain my thoughts.

The West is getting ready to take action against the Syrian Government due to a horrific attack on civilians where chemical weapons were used. CNN reported last night that the “UK drafts U.N. resolution to go before Security Council today authorizing necessary measures to protect Syria civilians” but my question is why are ‘chemical weapons’ the straw that broke the indignant back of the West.

In this current civil war UNICEF reported in February that over 500 children had died already, by August the UN were reporting that 6,561 children had died. There are also reports that more than 600 detainees and political prisoners have died during the current conflict while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports prior to the chemical attack that 3,607 Women are dead due to this conflict.

Overall reported total number of deaths vary, but the UN reported in July that there were estimated to be over 100,000 deaths in total due to the current conflicts.

If the UK were “authorizing necessary measures to protect Syria civilians” and one assumes the Americans are on the same page…and for the record it’s a page that I agree with and am on as well…what about the other 100,000, of which it seems about 60,000 are civilians, that haven’t warranted protection. Where were the West when it got to 20,000 or 30,000 or 50,000?

It is horrific to see the images on the news of people dead and dying due to chemical weapons, but you have to concede that there are going to have been thousands, if not tens of thousands of horrific deaths so far committed on civilians during the conflict. Where were the West then?

If this is a catalyst to help innocent civilians then I support it, but if it is the West, just placating their conscience because they have seen the images on their TV screens that shock them then I say, “Shame on you West, where have you been?

The Royal Prank Call…Where to from here?

I am looking at the story about DJs at the centre of the royal prank call trying to figure the whole thing out.

It seems that like many radio announcers in the past they made a call, which got to a place it shouldn’t have, they took the piss, it was cleared by not only management, but the company lawyers, and the call went to air.

The process wouldn’t have gotten a second look other than two factors…it was about the future Queen and her unborn child, and someone involved with the call has now killed themselves.

I am terribly upset for the family of Jacintha Saldanha, her friends and colleagues, it is a situation that must be unbearable. I also feel, albeit not on the same level, sorry for the announcers who basically did their jobs, were cleared by management, and now have death threats and the world wanting their blood.

It seems to be a ‘there but for the grace of God‘ situation that many of us, who have done this kind of thing, could have been put in.

Here is an example of a crank call I made in 2005/06 when I got the Grosvenor of the Reserve Bank out of an important meeting to ask him how the changing of the size of the silver coins was going to impact my ‘takeaway and spacies‘ business over summer.

I got to a place I shouldn’t have, if the person who answered the phone and put me through was the subject of some kind of disciplinary action I would have probably made news…but that didn’t happen.

I am interested in seeing if there is any kind of history of suicide attempts or depression in Ms. Saldanha’s life as this situation on it’s own, where she didn’t give out any information and she wasn’t going to be disciplined in any way, leads me to think that perhaps this story is yet to be told in its entirety.