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Garrett case another example of special treatment for elite

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, September 17th, 2010 - 64 comments
Categories: law and "order" - Tags:

Today’s Herald editorial writes:

Any case of identity theft involves calculated dishonesty. By any yardstick, Mr Garrett was fortunate to be discharged without conviction and to be granted name suppression.

So why did Garrett escape without a conviction?

It’s certainly not the normal outcome in these cases. The Dompost summarised half a dozen other cases yesterday:

2006: Frank Macskasy, 48, of Upper Hutt, is fined $2000 for forgery after using the name and details of a dead baby to get a passport. He said he had wanted to try The Day of the Jackal scam.

2006: Porirua man Dacey Jon Cameron is jailed for two years after attempting to obtain a passport in the name of a dead baby. Cameron changed his name by deed poll in 2004 to that of an infant who died almost four decades before and applied for a passport soon after.

2006: Peter Fulcher, a former kingpin in the Mr Asia drug syndicate, escapes a jail term despite admitting stealing the identity of a five-year-old who died in 1945, to obtain a passport.

2006: Rotorua man Christopher Mark Grose, 36, is fined $10,000 after stealing the identity of a dead baby to obtain a passport.

2005: William Kevin Roach, 49, a United States citizen, is jailed after admitting forgery charges. Also inspired by The Day of the Jackal, he assumed the identity of a baby after visiting a Tauranga cemetery.

2000: Jo-Anne Mary Cole, 43, is sentenced to 4 1/2 years’ jail after being convicted of fraud and passport offences. Cole also used the Forsyth techniques.

So why didn’t Garrett even get a conviction for the same offence others were being sentenced to jail for at the same time?

One part of the answer is that Garrett lied to the Court by telling it that he didn’t have any previous convictions (I’m no legal export but isn’t that perjury?).

Another reason is that he claims never to have used the passport (if you believe that…).

Nonetheless, this was a calculated act that damaged the integrity of our passport system and could have been used for major fraud, which distressed the family of the dead child hugely. And Garrett lied to the Police when confronted. (This guy sure lies a lot, eh?)

The more fundamental reason why Garrett got the soft treatment is exposed in the court records. If Garrett had been convicted he may well have been disbarred – lawyers don’t generally accept having (convicted) criminals in their midst. So, the judge went easy on a fellow lawyer to save his job and reputation.

Being part of the old boys’ club sure has its perks.

[Update: Garrett quits ACT]

64 comments on “Garrett case another example of special treatment for elite”

  1. comedy 1

    So Cameron Slater has a point ?

    • Bright Red 1.1

      about what? Slater was revealing the names of people whose names had been supressed to protect their victims.

      • Whaleoil 1.1.1

        Actually that is incorrect.

        Yes i was convicted on one s139 charge but all the others were s140 and from the original court orders the suprpession was at the request of the defendant.

    • paula 1.2

      [deleted]

      [lprent: As much as I personally dislike the SST, that comment dropped well over the edge. It was straight unsubstantiated defamation. ]

  2. jbanks 2

    I’m no legal export

    No, no you’re not. But more relevant, you’re no legal expert.

    • Blighty 2.1

      attention everyone! jbanks has found a typo! On the Interwebs!

      • mcflock 2.1.1

        be nice – for once he’s correct and someone else is wrong.

        Hell – I’m headed to my asteroid-impact bunker just in case this is a portent.

        • bbfloyd 2.1.1.1

          mcfloccy…you guys must be getting frantic if you think a minor spelling mistake discredits a statement. isn’t it about time you guys(rwnj) got a handle on reality?

          • mcflock 2.1.1.1.1

            How about you get a handle on context and therefore who I was suggesting that Blighty should be nice to?

  3. ianmac 3

    There is not only a question of privileges for “one of us”, but on the face of it there is a pretty huge variation in sentencing. I suppose the other factors have to be taken into account for those other criminals. Thus, had the Magistrate known of Garrett’s conviction for assault, would the discharge been the same?
    Incidentally. The other party in the assault case said that there was “no broken jaw in two places.” There were x-rays taken and they were sent on to NZ. Yet Garrett said that he had had his jaw broken by an assailant. MMmm.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      The other party in the assault case said that there was “no broken jaw in two places.”

      Source?

      I must admit that I’m wondering how on earth you manage to break your jaw in two places when attacked from behind.

    • toad 3.2

      Garrett could easily clear up the issue of the broken jaw by releasing the x-rays.

      Unless, like the passport he said he never used, he’s destroyed them too.

      Mind you, having lied to the Police about the passport fraud until he reaslied they had enough evidence to ping him anyway, and apparently having then lied to the Court about having no prior criminal convictions after he pleaded guilty to the passport fraud, who would believe a work Garrett says.

    • Rex Widerstrom 3.3

      There is not only a question of privileges for “one of us”, but on the face of it there is a pretty huge variation in sentencing.

      Yes, while not denying Eddie’s assertion that being a lawyer (or some other member of “the club”) gives you a very good chance of being dealt with lightly, it can also have the reverse effect if the judge is of the opinion that you’ve broken a sacred trust, brought the profession into disrepute etc etc. My friend David Stevenson was dealt with overly severely for this very reason, I feel.

      As you say ianmac, there’s enormous disparity in sentencing – a “Mr Asia” associate gets zilch, the next example on the list gets a $10,000 fine and another gets prison?!

      The fine v prison disparity may be able to be explained by whether the fine was affordable by one man and not the other (and IMHO that shouldn’t be a reason to send someone to prison who would not otherwise) or whether use was made of the passports (it would have been useful if the DomPost had bothered to dig a little deeper and tell us).

      I’m certainly not in favour of minimum sentences or other attempts to tie the hands of the judiciary. But if you look at statistics for sentencing there are definitely outliers amongst judges. For instance there’s a Magistrate here whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. If you’re before him for any traffic offence his favourite trick is to deny bail, thus giving you a de facto sentence of about 3 months jail while you await trial. This is well known – to such an extent that the police, if they like you, will schedule the prosecution for a day he’s not sitting – but nothing is done.

      A good start would be simple public reporting (yes, a “league table”!) showing the judges’ names, the offences and their sentencing patterns. Hopefully the system would then be more self-regulating.

  4. john 4

    I continue to believe ACT are nothing better than a bunch of white collar political criminals. To my mind the subversion of the so called Labour Party by the Rogernomes in the 80s is a crime far outweighing their current petty offences. That Mister Nice would have anything to do with this wild bunch says a lot about him!

    • ABC 4.1

      Does that include Helen Clark? She was integral to Rogernomics. Or how about the then Minister of Employment, Phil Goff. Not so surprising that he thinks workers trading their holidays is a good idea is it? In which case, what kind of party is Labour now? That any voter would have anything to do with the lot of them says much more.

      • Olwyn 4.1.1

        Helen Clark was a junior minister at that time, and stuck to her turf. She was not a rogernomics cheerleader. In her position you choose to stay and make changes where you can, or go, as Jim Anderson did. Neither action is dishonorable. What is dishonorable is to sell out on one’s principles all together.

        • Rex Widerstrom 4.1.1.1

          You may “choose to stay and make changes where you can” but if it becomes apparent that your power to do so is limited or non-existent the only honourable thing to do is walk away and clearly warn the voting public about the damage (or potential damage) being done by the people in control.

          I gave it six months, then pulled the plug and did what I could to warn people what Lhaws had in mind.

          “Choosing to stay and make (no) changes”, means you’ve put personal ambition ahead of public interest. While everyone who goes into politics has no shortage of the former, their true character emerges when it conflicts with the latter.

          Though he’s burned the goodwill off (and then some) since, and despite my naive belief that Lange would somehow find a way to sort out the mess, I admired Anderton for what he did at the time. I agonised for months over the possibility of a senior role in government, so I know it took guts to walk away from an actual senior role and into the possibility of obscurity.

  5. joe bloggs 5

    And a few other examples of special treatment for elite to add to Eddie’s collection:

    Mar 18 2006: Acting deputy commissioner Roger Carson said there was a prima facie case the Labour Party Pledge Card had breached the Electoral Act, which prohibits advertising promoting a party unless the party secretary has given written authorisation.

    Nov 24 2005: Police say they have enough evidence to charge Social Development and Employment Minister David Benson-Pope for allegedly assaulting students when he was a teacher, but they will not prosecute because the events occurred 23 years ago.

    July 9 2002: Police announce that there is sufficient prima facie evidence to consider charges of forgery pursuant to section 264 of the Crimes Act 1961 against Miss Clark and Mrs Bush.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      While you are at . What about the AG inquiry in Bill Englishs claims for accommodation in Wellington or John Keys statuary declaration to live in his electorate ( when he didnt)

      • joe bloggs 5.1.1

        … not forgetting Phillip Field of course – guilty of 11 charges of bribery and corruption and 11 of perverting or obstructing the course of justice.

        Not only did the Labour Party refuse to apologise for Field’s, but they refused to even accept he was guilty.

  6. One part of the answer is that Garrett lied to the Court by telling it that he didn’t have any previous convictions (I’m no legal export but isn’t that perjury?).

    Not unless he was giving evidence but it is reason for the Law Society to open an investigation into whether or not he is a fit or proper person to continue to be able to practice law. Misleading a Court is about as serious as you can get.

  7. rich 7

    What interests me is that normally when there’s a notable case with name suppression, like that Auckland DJ getting a BJ, it gets reported to the full extent possible without breaching the order.

    Passport fraud is certainly a notable and unusual offence, as is the arraignment of a lawyer (who I think was already active in the SST). But we heard *nothing* about this case.

    Did the cops arrange for Garrett to be snuck in the back door of the District Court for a quick trial and sentence? Or did the media spike the story as conflicting with their narrative of Bad Brown Boys?

    • Bored 7.1

      I am awaiting Pollywogs contribution, he has said pretty much consistently that “if you are brown you are going down”.

      One wonders about the signals we send in our society when we are so dreadfully soft upon white collar crime and similar from the layer of society that we are supposed to look up to. Meanwhile we come down like a ton of bricks on the poor, disadvantaged etc for their crimes. What it tells me is that authority is far more worried that the lower orders will get “out of control” than it worried enough to police the offenses against the rest of us by the likes of Garrett.

      • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1

        What it tells me is that authority is far more worried that the lower orders will get “out of control” than it worried enough to police the offenses against the rest of us by the likes of Garrett.

        ….or otago university students

        • mcflock 7.1.1.1

          in which context?

          • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1.1.1

            What do you think would happen if a thousand odd south Auckland youths started setting bonfires in the street, blocking traffic and throwing bottles at police? I suspect we’d see many more convictions entered than what tends to have happened in Dunners.

            • mcflock 7.1.1.1.1.1

              dunno about that – they only reason there weren’t more arrests/convictions down here was because the police were too damned busy chasing and arresting others. And the videographers helped nab a load more over the following months as the footage was analysed.

              Don’t get me wrong, there is usually the discharge w/o conviction if the crime will screw up their career and is pretty minor, but in the more noteworthy events of the past few years they were shit out of luck. And the look of stunned surprise when they found that out was quite funny. And that’s not including the liberal application of semi-discriminate force by the police at the time.

              • Puddleglum

                I see what you’re saying but I think PB’s right when he says that a South Auckland rampage of similar proportions would bring a harsher response. It’s well-understood that student disturbances don’t lead to wider problems (after all, 1968 was a long time ago).

                A rampage in South Auckland – probably quite correctly – would make police, the judiciary and politicians very twitchy over cascade effects, broader social unrest and, ultimately, social upheaval – and you never know where that might end. (Think of the riots in Bradford and other English cities in recent years.)

                It’s one thing to have the sons and daughters of the middle class get drunk and senseless. As you pointed out, even those ‘children’ would be stunned to find out their actions were taken as a serious threat to society.

                It’s another thing to have widespread violence occuring in a deprived, oppressed and marginalised group in a society. Then there’s real trouble. Who knows, some opportunist radical might even try to turn the upheaval into organised resistance.

                Deep down in their bones, that’s what those who are doing ok out of the way things are really fear. In a lot of ways, mainstream politics is simply an argument over how best to handle that potential threat.

                • mcflock

                  But I would say that the widespread violence that clocked off in a few incidents in Dunedin were nowhere near the sort of level of widespread violence that would clock off in say Porirua – I’m thinking of alienated Algerian immigrant riots in Paris, or Redfern riots/protests against Aus police treatment.

                  It serves no purpose to say “these people are treated more leniently than these other people” if one group’s activities are more imminently dangerous and committed than the other’s.

                  I’m not that saying racism and classism is not reinforced by the police and judicial system, just that the Dunedin:Porirua comparison isn’t it. If, on the other hand, we were talking just basic ordinary crimes (like stealing a pie from a corner store), and see whether a white rich student is charged/diverted/convicted as opposed to a m/p unemployed school leaver, then that would be more interesting social commentary. For some reason lifting a pie is more prejudicial to the career of somebody hoping to graduate in a couple of years than to the career of a kid looking for a job now.

                  • Puddleglum

                    Agreed, though it’s all bound up together – and that was part of what I was trying to say.

                    Racist responses can be understood as based on fear about the “imminently dangerous” situation that arises when one ‘race’ oppresses another. Suppression of slave revolts in the Caribbean in the late 18th/ early 19th centuries were carried out in emphatically racist ways and backed by racist rhetoric but were basically about fear of the “imminently dangerous” nature of the general social situation (i.e., slavery).

                    Similarly, the fact that “the widespread violence that clocked off in a few incidents in Dunedin were nowhere near the sort of level of widespread violence that would clock off in say Porirua” is partly because of an implicit understanding (by police, judiciary, ‘middle New Zealand’) of the different social settings.

                    Who knows, maybe someone of lower SES (white or brown) might be given a harsher sentence (for pie stealing) because of the same implicit understanding of the social setting (e.g., fear that the oppressive conditions they live in means they will be more likely to re-offend). That’s pretty much the same, isn’t it, as fear that violence by young brown people in Porirua is more likely to ignite more widespread violence than that ignited by mainly white young people (and ‘students’) in Dunedin?

                    Both cases – the Porirua riot and the pie stealing – represent equally “interesting social commentary” from that perspective.

                    • mcflock

                      So is the actual threat level in an area of group disorder always the same?
                      Is a disorderly group of males posing up for cameras and girls of the same threat level as a disorderly group of genuinely angry males who have been alienated and discriminated against?

                      I would say no.

                      A difference in response is not necessarily based on race or class, the actual threat level needs to be kept in mind. The Porirua kids might have a better reason to riot, but it doesn’t mean they’re as wussy as a 2nd year BCom.

            • ryan 7.1.1.1.1.2

              The only entire shopping malls destroyed by drunken youths in the thousands are in WEST auckland.. NACT keep it up and they will strike the world cup, mark these words.

      • pollywog 7.1.2

        Man… i’m about done on the subject…

        The whole political/judicial system is eurocentrically biased since its inception over 150 years ago and theres not the slightest bit of concerted effort to truly change it as long as the voter base electing succesive gov’ts, of whatever political leaning, pander to the inherent eurocentric cultural bias and the sellout uncle Tom’s accept the token gestures of political inclusivity, at the expense of speaking out on these issues.

        What’s any of the political reps got to say on this, and more so i’m asking the question of the Su’a Sio’s, the Peseta Sam’s, The Carmel Sepuloni’s and even the prospective Kris Fa’afois ?

        From personal experience to media reporting, TV programmes targetting poor people and low budget crime, to abuse of name supression, to conflicts of interest with judges affecting their rulings, to soft sentencing for those of ‘good breeding’, even to property rights for rich beachfront owners differing from rightful Maori owners and lower priced leases of Maori owned land to favoured leasees…it’s fucking criminal

        but the definition of criminal is measured on a sliding scale of factors that have nothing to do with the punishment reflecting the severity of the crime.

        I attended a presentation by NZ’s top Pasifikan policeman a few nights ago. A man of 30 plus years in the force whose ranks reflects the time invested. His voice cracked and tears welled up as he recounted stories of the ‘dawn raids’ of the 70’s where even he, as a teenager, was pulled over by cops and questioned as to his legitimacy status despite being NZ born and was close to arrest because he couldn’t produce his birth certificate as he was walking home.

        He made mention of ‘pig patrol’ volunteers from the Polynesian Panthers, who tailed police in finding the paddy wagons which signalled the taskforce specifically targetting Pasifikans. These ‘panthers’ then went on to advocate for those in police interviews and in court. Panthers, who, i have no doubt, would have been considered ‘uppity niggas’ that don’t know their place.

        While the times have overtly changed on ‘the thin blue line’ it doesn’t seem to have changed much in the judiciary system where like B said… If you’re brown you’re going down.

        So where’s our Pasifikan political reps speaking for us on this and advocating for us in parliament ? Wheres the one bi partisan voice reaching out across the house to echo these sentiments ? Wheres the condemnation of Maurice Williamson in joking about us having our ‘papers in order’ to Oscar Kightley, a member of the NZ Order of Merit.

        I CANT FUCKING HEAR YOU !!!

        just like our voices in the street cant be heard by wider society, yet the actions of not being heard, in us becoming a silent and invisible underclass, are reflected in our embarassing health, education and employment statistics.

        The current solution from the current gov’t, being to build more prisons in partnership with private enterprise to put more of us in jail and put more money into the rich eurocentrists who perpetuate the cultural bias that primarily contributes to said embarassing stats, is reminscent of ‘the final solution.’

        as long as we’re positively portrayed as the jovial, happy, humble, fat roly poly christian then sure…”lifes a gas and then you die” and as for the rest, jail us and sterilise us so we cant breed more criminals.

        That, coming from a lying, fraudulent, violently offending law and order spokesperson whose crimes were knowingly covered up by himself, the judiciary and his parliamentary boss is why, beyond the initial anger, a deep set frustration sets in that says..

        aint a damn thing gonna change anytime soon.

        ahhhh…Ok now i’m done, for today at least 🙂

        • Bored 7.1.2.1

          Thanks Polly, knew you would deliver. have a top weekend.

          • pollywog 7.1.2.1.1

            storm’s coming in, i’m all outta firewood and the chainsaws blunt…dammit

            …but still i’ll have a better weekend than a lot of others who’re wayy worse off than me

            you have a top weekend yaself…B

            never let the fuckers grind ya down !!!

        • BLiP 7.1.2.2

          as long as we’re positively portrayed as the jovial, happy, humble, fat roly poly christian then sure…”lifes a gas and then you die” and as for the rest, jail us and sterilise us so we cant breed more criminals.

          Couldn’t agree more. Did you see Carmel’s post over at red Alert?

  8. Name 8

    Garrett’s just one of the 99% of politicians who give the rest a bad name.

  9. randal 9

    so garret is an elite.
    out with it.
    what has he got to be elite about.
    we (that is the people ) want to know.

  10. burt 10

    As his mentor always said; “move on”.

    hey great he’s resigned eh… it was the only right thing to do and it’s a pity his mentor validated herself rather than did what was right.

  11. ak 11

    He’s gone. Just remains now as to whether he takes Hide with him – and whether Hide rakes Grinny on the way down. On the latter, watch for the results of a deal.

    • toad 11.1

      No, he’s gone from ACT, not from Parliament – at least yet. But as a list MP who resigned from his party becasue of personal disgrace rather than policy differences, staying on as an MP would be completely untenable.

      • burt 11.1.1

        Taito managed to hang in pretty well but I doubt ACT will provide the level of shelter that Labour did….

  12. rich 12

    Didn’t stop Donna Awatere-Huata.

    Thing is, Garrett (and Boscawen) bought their way in with a big donation. Maybe ACT will realise that while auctioning list spots might be in line with neocon principles, it doesn’t make for a high quality of candidate.

  13. burt 13

    So far with the exception of Rodney disgraced ACT party members move on – big contrast to disgraced Labour and National party members who tell us to move on.

  14. Zeebop 14

    Garrett should resign. He obviously is too stupid to be an MP, he must have known
    his mug was on a fake passport somewhere, and that being the Law and Order
    shrill for the extreme right ACT would bring him to the attention of every
    criminal investigator. How dumb was that? Someone immediately picking up
    a copy of the passport application and saying, that’s sure isn’t, it can’t be,
    yes, it is, it’s Garrett MP for law and order! Garrett knew the police were investigating
    the Israeli passport fraudsters and it was inevitable they’d go over old unused
    passports, use new databases of births, deaths, etc..

    Garrett could have saved ACT by bowing out then, but he tired it on, just as we
    now find he didn’t tell the court about his Tongo assault conviction when the
    judge handed down the slap on the wrist for the passport fraud.

    WFT this guy is still a MP, why isn’t Hide, Key, Goff…

    Garrett is gone.

  15. randal 15

    you zoomin me rich dude.
    did garrett and boscawen really buy their seats?

    • Anne 15.1

      In effect Randal they did.
      Boscawen by making very generous donations starting in the mid 90s.
      Garrett via the SS Trust who also generously donated to Act over the years.

  16. toad 16

    Woohooo!!!!! More to come

    I was further advised that the only safe thing for me to do in the legal sense was to apply to the North Shore District Court – where my case was heard – for a waiver or discharge of the suppression order so I could be free to speak about my own case. That has now been obtained so I am freer to speak that I was, but issues have arisen regarding the affidavit I swore in that case which means I am unable to discuss that aspect of the case.

    Does that mean what I think it means – that he’s now being investigated for perjury?

  17. Lez Howard 17

    Good ridance to the little bag of snot Garret

  18. Noirth 18

    It’s the fascistic madman Garth McPricar needs to be looked at closely now……

  19. Swampy 19

    Why wasn’t Trevor Mallard prosecuted by the police for assault as a Government minister? Maybe it had something to do with being a Government minister at the time? Yet when Shane Ardern backed his tractor up the steps of Parliament, Helen’s government got the book thrown at him.

    Why wasn’t Labour prosecuted for stealing the $800,000, clear enough evidence against them? oops, they were the government? Why did they have to pay it back if they hadn’t broken the law?

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