Bruce Emery’s sentence of just four years and three months on a reduced charge of manslaughter for chasing 15 year old Pihema Cameron 300 metres down the street and stabbing him to death with a knife is a stark reminder of the institutional racism that still exists in this country.
Let’s not pretend for a second that Emery would have got off so lightly if he was an unemployed Maori and his victim a middle class Pakeha child, tagger or not.
And he certainly would not have gained the enthusiastic support of the so-called Sensible Sentencing Trust, whose spokesman Garth McVicar defended Emery as “a decent hard working citizen [who] is facing a murder charge because of his frustration over this issue” and argued he shouldn’t have to serve any time at all.
Some will no doubt baulk at the use of the term ‘racism’, New Zealanders don’t like to believe that such a thing exists in this country. But really, there’s no other way to describe what happened in the Emery case.