- Date published:
8:53 am, December 30th, 2019 - 22 comments
Categories: crime, law, law and "order", national, national/act government, same old national, Simon Bridges, uncategorized - Tags:
In quite a clever move National has put out on Facebook a video featuring Simon Bridges and talking about one of the trials that he did.
The campaign is at least in part a social media harvesting campaign. Tough on crime supporters will love it. I bet it harvests a few contact details.
The campaign has similarities to American politics where being a crime avenging District Attorney is a quick way to a political career.
The desired impression goes a bit like this.
Simon Bridges’ movie has this title:
What I’m fighting for
Fighting for a better justice system is important to me. Here’s why.
It then goes into the detail of the trial he conducted against Tony Douglas Robertson who was charged with kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, indecent assault and robbery.
The overriding impression created by the film is that because of Simon’s super duper prosecutorial skills the conviction was obtained. It appears to me however that despite what was clearly a dramatic and traumatic incident the case was relatively straight forward. The accused was found with the 5 year old complainant in his car and she spontaneously accused him of doing something inappropriate to her. Her discarded shorts were found in the back of his car. And he attempted to manufacture a conspiracy theory which was implausible to put it mildly.
Robertson appealed against his conviction to the Court of Appeal In the judgment the Court said:
We find it unnecessary to go into detail, but, from our survey of the evidence, we are completely satisfied there was abundant evidence which, if accepted, justified Mr Robertson’s conviction on each count.
And the Supreme Court refused leave to appeal further saying:
The sole proposed ground is that the verdicts of the jury were unreasonable, a ground which was understandably pressed only “lightly” in the Court of Appeal by his counsel as the Crown case was in fact extremely strong. The verdicts, far from being unreasonable, were really inevitable on the basis of the evidence.
Bridges offers the trial as evidence that the Criminal Justice system needs reforming. I am not sure why. Robertson was convicted and two appeal levels agreed this was right.
Robertson was sentenced to eight years in prison. Given he was a 19 year old with mid level previous convictions the result was not surprising.
Bridges did seek that preventative detention be imposed. The Judge did not and said that a 18 year old had to be shown some compassion.
Then Thompson went on to kill Blessie Gotingco. The history of interventions the state took to try and deal with Robertson before this happened were significant.
The Gotingco trial was also a farce with Robertson attempting to argue what was palpably inarguable. His lack of remorse, his complete indifference to Blessie’s rights as a human being and his treatment of her corpse are very troubling. He deserves to be in jail for as long as the community’s safety requires it.
National using the original trial for political ends is also troubling. It was a slam dunk case, anyone half competent should have won it. The trial process was fair, obviously as confirmed by two appellate courts.
I suspect that as time goes by Bridges will talk more and more about the inadequacy of the sentence. But if we are going to sentence young people committing reasonably serious offences to preventive detention because they also have significant personality problems then we are going to have to build a lot of jails.
Hindsight is a great thing. But if reform of the Preventative Detention laws was so important why it was not completed during the 9 years of National’s reign is the first question they should be asked.