Sensible Sentencing: Disgusting

Written By: - Date published: 12:50 pm, April 8th, 2008 - 75 comments
Categories: crime, scoundrels - Tags: ,

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is a backward, reactionary organisation at the best of times but this is a new low.

Responding to comments Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro made about tagging, Sensible Sentencing’s Garth McVicar said ‘Her comments are hugely provocative at a time when a decent hard working citizen is facing a murder charge because of his frustration over this issue’.

Who is this decent citizen? Bruce Emery, who stabbed 15-year-old Pihema Cameron to death because he thought Cameron was about to tag his fence.

McVicar has sunk to a new low when he excuses the killing of a young man as an expression of ‘frustration’. Emery is not a decent citizen; decent citizens do not kill other citizens over minor acts of vandalism.

Sensible Sentencing has shown what kind of organisation it is: one that will defend a killer and doesn’t give a damn about the life of a young man who was maybe doing some tagging. To them, the property of a Pakeha businessman comes before the life of some poor Maori kid.

Decent citizens should treat McVicar and his cohorts with the contempt they have earned.

75 comments on “Sensible Sentencing: Disgusting”

  1. Matthew Pilott 1

    Get the name right, SP.

    Hysterical Sentencing Trust.

    Well filed BTW, McVicar is a disgrace.

  2. I can’t believe the media go to this fuckwit for comment on crime stories so often. It’s like going to the KKK for comment on race stories. Are they really so politically naive?

  3. Policy Parrot 3

    I call on Garth McVicar to resign as head of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, for his comments endorsing murder.

  4. Jay 4

    Has he been found guilty yet?

  5. Steve Pierson 5

    I wonder if the kiwiblog right will join you? after all half of them want the death penalty back, so surely endorsing this unwarranted violent attack should have them calling for the resignation of McVicar.

  6. Matthew Pilott 6

    Jay – I think he’s (assuming you’re refeerring to Emery) yet to go to trial, but has been ordered to stand trial after a depositions hearing. Don’t hold me to that though.

  7. sean14 7

    A poor choice of words indeed, but I’m willing to give McVicar the benefit of the doubt and assume that he doesn’t endorse murder as the solution to tagging.

    As an aside, what is the value of calling people “fuckwits” (and indeed having a category on this site for “fuckwits”)?

    Cheers, Sean.

    [bro, he says that killing someone is a way a decent citizen can express frustration over tagging. That makes him a fuckwit in my book. You’ll see from the catagories list it’s not a term we use regularly. SP]

  8. Occasional Observer 8

    You’re on pretty dodgy ground, Steve, making statements like that before a man has been tried in Court, and exposing the Standard to litigation.

  9. Steve Pierson 9

    Jay. No, Emery hasn’t been found guilty of murder yet but there is no doubt that he killed Cameron, it has not been denied.

    Remember that murdering someone and killing someone are different things- the first is a matter of law, the other is a matter of fact.

  10. Steve Pierson 10

    OO. Again, there is a difference between being found guilty of a homicide-related crime (which emery has not been at this point) and having, as a matter of fact, killed someone (which is not in dispute).

    That’s why I chose the word killed and not murdered. It’s important you understand the difference between the two if you want to make a proper contribution.

    I suspect the real reason OO and Jay have focussed on that phrase and tried to scare me with their crappy understanding of the law is that they sympathise with Emery. So, why not have some guts and defend that position, rather than making flawed semantic arguments?

  11. dave 11

    Quite. But Steve, although I dont agree with the the way McVicar made his comments either, would you care to comment on Kiros comments that tagging is a legitimate art form and this art form appropriately balances the rights of property owners and the rights of children and young people…

  12. rjs131 12

    IN the issue of fairness are you able to post a link to Kiros comments? If she said it is an art form, but there is no excuse for vandalising private property, then Mcvicar comments are over the top, but if she is silent to vandalism then he has a fair point. I know it is an art form, but art is no excuse for defacing private/public property

  13. sean14 13

    Thanks Steve. I’m going to go with the poor choice of words theory (ever done it yourself?) as opposed to the Garth McVicar endorses murder as an appropriate response to frustration with tagging theory – I think the former is more likely than the latter.

    As for fuckwits, I wasn’t asking how often the term is used, I was asking about its value. I have little doubt that if David Farrar had categories on his blog with catchy titles like “fuckwits” you’d be the first to proclaim how offensive they were.

  14. I personally beleive also that they are fundementally racist. Take for example the case of Jack Nicholas, the farmer up in Hawkes Bay, this was the flagship case for Garth McViccar and the Sensible sentancing trust. With the assumption that due to the history of the area it was likely a group of local unemployed maoris who had been up in the hills growing dope, the SST were all over it, who ever shot him was an animal, bring back the death penalty, public hanging ect. Then finally the guy who did it is caught, shock horror, hes not unemployed hes a farmer too, and worst of all, hes white! suddenly silence from the sensible sentancing trust, what ever has come over them?

    like many right wing authoritarian reactionaries he is just plain racist. See there site, notice that its “Labour Government” not just “Government”. McViccar has become just another Rent-a-rightie, just like Ian Wishart.

  15. Steve Pierson 15

    rjs131. So if Kiro was saying defacing property is ok, then McVicar has a fair point that Emery was just a decent citizen expressing frustration when he stabbed Cameron to death? Weird logic there: A killing is justifed or not depending on a public servant’s comments on tagging after the fact.

    anyway. Kiro http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0804/S00048.htm she says some people see tagging as legitimate art. and although its not the point of the thread I would say the best graffiti is great art, it is often humourous and politically incisive. Most is crap as art but is a symptom of underlying social problems, just as most crimes are. Killing taggers, apart from being immoral in every sense, won’t solve the social conditions that got them tagging in the first place.

  16. McViccar has become just another Rent-a-rightie, just like Ian Wishart.

    It’s also well known that the SST and National share many of the same financial backers. Go figure.

  17. dave 17

    rjs131

    Kiro did indeed say it was an art form, but no, she didnt specifically say there was no excuse for vandalising private property. She is on the side ofteh taggers when she says ” I believe solutions need to appropriately balance the rights of property owners and the rights of children and young people”.

    Still waiting for your comments, Steve.

  18. I believe solutions need to appropriately balance the rights of property owners and the rights of children and young people’

    So Dave – do you think stabbing them to death is an appropriate solution? ‘Cos from here bro it’s starting to look like you do.

  19. Steve Pierson 19

    dave. I would say the best graffiti is great art, it is often humourous and politically incisive. Most is crap as art and can make neighbourhoods less attractive but it must not be forgotten that tagging is a symptom of underlying social problems, just as most crimes are. Killing taggers, apart from being immoral in every sense, won’t solve the social conditions that got them tagging in the first place

  20. Billy 20

    Stabbing them is just stupid, Robinsod. I am with comedian Mike Loader who, when asked on National Radio what his perfect day would entail explained that it would involve he and Gisele Bunchen in a hot tub on the Bonneville Salt Flats drinking bubbly and eating strawberries. 100 taggers would be released onto the salt flats followed, two minutes later, by lions.

  21. Tim 21

    Tagging is not really an art form. However, graffiti and bombing are art forms. It’s awesome catching the train and seeing all the graffiti. I wish there were more of it in the city. There should be blank walls in the city that people can paint on.

    I can’t believe McVicar’s comments, and those of that Manukau City councillor. It’s totally disgusting what they’ve said. Stabbing a kid for being naughty? He was 15 for crying out loud and it’s shameful the way these creeps try to justify his death.

  22. Steve Pierson 22

    Billy. Wouldn’t you get lions in your strawberries?

  23. Matthew Pilott 23

    Na, they’d go for the Gisele, isn’t that what they eat?

  24. Jeez MP – that’s the best laugh I’ve had all week…

  25. Billy 25

    Hmmm. Maybe your hot tub’s in a cage. Maybe the lions are full by the time they get to you. Maybe once you’ve experienced Gisele’s attentions for however long it takes lions to eat 100 taggers you are content to die happy.

  26. dave 26

    Robinsod. Piss off, child. Youre banned for a week, remember. I`ll respond to you, perhaps after you have come back after your l week ban on April 9. And, how come `Sod gets special treatment. Hes either banned for a week or not banned.

    Steve – d`ya know the difference between tagging and graffiti art – because it doesnt sound like it.wwe`re talking aboutr tagging here – vandalism, in other words – not grafitti.

  27. Steve Pierson 27

    dave. He’s had his week out.

    Please, enlighten me with your learnings on the difference between graffiti and tagging because we can all see how absolutely pivotal that distinction is in the issue of whether it was OK for Emery to kill Cameron.

  28. dave 28

    Steve, Porter hasnt had his week out, he was banned on 2 April. A week is normally 7 days. Or is the policy of this blog that you come back after serving two thirds of a sentence….

    And on the matter of sensible sentincing, you should talk to Garth McVicar. I never commented on whether it was OK for Emery to kill cameron.If you dont know the difference between graffiti art – as opposed to graffiti vandalsim – and tagging, then you should be able to find out from McVicar. He seems to be more clued up than you in this area.

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    And on the matter of sensible sentincing, you should talk to Garth McVicar

    Why dave, is McVicar saying that killing is only ok when use of spraypaint or marker is considered vandalism, and not art? What is your point here?

  30. rjs131 30

    Of course stabbing some little pratt is completely over the top and shoudl be subject to the highest form of punishment. But if Kiros didnt condemn vandalism (as opposed to some form of acceptable/controlled art) then she should be criticised. However Micvicar was over the top in his comments. vandalism is a crime, to dream up some form of sociological excuse for a crime is jsut as stupid as saying it is ok to kill someone for vandalising your property

  31. Steve Pierson 31

    dave. McVicar says that killing a tagger is an expression of frustration by a decent citizen. He excuses killing. I don’t want to talk to the scumbag.

    I don’t religiously track when people are banned. But as its pissing you off so much, I’m prepared to let Robinsod back a day early.

    And i’m well aware that tagging is a variant of graffiti. I was wondering if you were able to articulate the distinction. seems you can’t.

  32. Matthew Pilott 32

    All this worthless bollocks of tagging vs graffiti aside, what is repulsive is that McVicar, by use of that statement, puts the blame on the deceased – as if it’s his fault he was killed. This strikes me as a typical type of distortion from the ‘sensible’ sentencing trust.

    Reading Kiro’s statement, she’s advocating against a reactionary law change, and for children to have greater involvement in public spaces (those that are the target of such vandalism). It’s what you would expect from an advocate of children. What McVicar said was indeed a new low – on a par with any type of ‘she was asking for it’ defence.

  33. Jay 33

    “I can’t believe the media go to this fuckwit for comment on crime stories so often. It’s like going to the KKK for comment on race stories. Are they really so politically naive?”

    It strikes me that you’re the one who is being naive here. Of course the media will get the SST to comment. Why? To get a rise out of people like you.

    Surprisingly enough I’ve met a lot of people who seem to have at lot of sympathy for Emery. Proportional response doesn’t seem to be an issue for them. So maybe the media is on to something here and we’re into for a law and order election.

  34. Pablo 34

    As a recent “victim” of tagging*, I was fucking ropeable about the act. However, as a sensible person, I understand that death, whether judicial or otherwise, is hardly a reasonable penalty. I was/am utterly fucked off by the James Blunts (rhymning slang) who tagged & grafittied my “for sale’ sign. Aside from a few choice words, what else is appropriate – murder? fuck no!

    (*I am trying to sell my home. Lovely big sign was tagged within 24 hours. In subsequent weeks it was tagged again. Replaced big photo sign with bog-standard estae agent sign. Also tagged. Pissed off? Damn right. In a killing mood? no. Fuck off McVicor and that cock from the Christchurch City Council.

  35. Steve Pierson 35

    Jay.

    a) ‘a lot’ of people agreeing with something doesn’t make it right.

    b) the media’s job is not to ‘get a rise out of people’

  36. sean14 36

    Any further comments on “fuckwits” Steve?

  37. Jay 37

    “‘a lot’ of people agreeing with something doesn’t make it right.”

    Never said it was right. It you read my comment properly then you would have understood it to be a criticism of the general public’s inability to understand that tagging does not deserve stagging as it is not a proportionate response to the act.

    “the media’s job is not to ‘get a rise out of people'”

    Haven’t you ever hear of that journalist axiom ‘if it bleeds it leads’ or do you subscribe to a normative model of how journalism is suppose to work (in the day when it was a real profession)

  38. Steve Pierson 38

    Not really. It’s a catagory we reserve for limited occasions when we think it is really really deserved. It’s been twice applied to Steady Eddie, which shows the level of statements we would apply it to.

    McVicar is saying it’s ok to kill a dude if he’s going to spray your fence because tagging is frustrating. He’s meant to stand for victim’s rights but he’s backing the killer, not the killed because of who the victim was. That makes him a fuckwit in my books.

  39. Pablo 39

    “Any further comments on “fuckwits’ Steve?”

    Just look in the fucking mirror Sean, you’ll see one right there

  40. Dave you fool – it’s Porton. You really are a little challenged for a self-styled journo, eh bro?

    Oh and just for the record – I’ve changed my mind on this one. From now on I’m gonna carry a screwdriver around so I can kill people who tag my property, cut in line in front of me, give me the wrong change and talk with their mouth full.

    Oh and I’ll settle for maiming those who misspell my surname. Well first time around anyways…

  41. Anonymous 41

    Sensible Sentencing don’t think either Scott Watson or Peter Ellis are guilty of anything either – in fact they’re so sure they’re not guilty they’re not listed in their offender database.

    They really do have a strange view of what a “decent citizen” looks like.

  42. illuminatedtiger 42

    B.I.H Garth McVicar!!!

  43. Hillary 43

    I find it incredible that anyone could suggest that defending property would justify taking another person’s life.

    Personally I rejoice at the tagging AND graffitti art I see in the rail corridor and various urban spaces. I accept that some people get very upset if their private property is tagged. Personally I feel depressed when I see tagging painted over eg on motorway underpasses. It makes me contemplate the boring world that some people would have us live in. These same people are silent about the visual pollution we are subjected to in the form of advertising which also inhabits those urban spaces.

    Tagging is the voice of a dispossessed part of our community. And they will not be made invisible, as some people apparently are determined for them to be.

  44. Dean 44

    “Personally I rejoice at the tagging AND graffitti art I see in the rail corridor and various urban spaces. I accept that some people get very upset if their private property is tagged. Personally I feel depressed when I see tagging painted over eg on motorway underpasses. It makes me contemplate the boring world that some people would have us live in. These same people are silent about the visual pollution we are subjected to in the form of advertising which also inhabits those urban spaces.”

    Here’s a hint to cut through your moral equivalence: Advertisers don’t spray their advertisements all over your fence.

    Honestly, do you actually have any idea what you’re talking about?

  45. Dean 45

    “To them, the property of a Pakeha businessman comes before the life of some poor Maori kid.”

    Steve, I largely agree with your sentiments in your post, but I have to ask – have you ever considered a career in spin doctory or propaganda? You’d be a shoe in.

  46. McVicar’s certainly earned the tag today.

  47. Razorlight 47

    I understand he will be using the defence of “self defence”

    Anyone know who pulled the blade first

  48. Pascal's bookie 48

    razorlight, from what I remember Mr Emery grabbed a knife from his kitchen on his way out the door to investigate. Though I can’t remember where I saw that, and can’t find the link. Sorry.

    From the herald article in the post we have :

    A key police witness has also revealed how Pihema’s friend – still beside his mate’s body – told her the pair were about to tag a fence when a man with a knife chased them.

    Pihema was stabbed about 11.30pm on Saturday when he was allegedly chased down by Manurewa business owner Bruce William Emery, 50, who will appear in the Manukau District Court today to face a murder charge

  49. Who is this decent citizen? Bruce Emery, who stabbed 15-year-old Pihema Cameron to death because he thought Cameron was about to tag his fence.

    There are remarkably decisive assertions of Emery’s intent and motivation throughout this thread. How exactly were these determined? I see nothing here any better than McVicar’s rantings.

  50. Hillary 50

    Dean, the moral equivalence is human life and private property.

  51. sean14 51

    Pablo – Way to raise the standard of debate (it would seem that The Standard is somewhat misnamed). Just out of interest, have I crossed you personally somehow? If not, I think your comment is unnecessary.

    Cheers, Sean.

  52. Pablo 52

    Sean. Get fucked.

  53. Matthew Pilott 53

    Really Psycho? You don’t think it’s pretty bad to make a statement placing the blame for a death upon the deceased for what is, in this scope, a trivial act?

    I can’t see any such equivalence on this thread.

  54. Steve Pierson 54

    psycho.milt. That Emery stabbed Cameron is not in dispute. he grabbed a knife from his kitchen when he saw kids about to tag his fence. read the accounts, you’ve got google.

    But, again, you are simply trying to attack the post without making the counter-argument you actually believe: ie that Emery was in the right. have some guts and make that argument.

  55. That Emery stabbed Cameron is not in dispute.

    Indeed. However, the assertion that Emery …stabbed 15-year-old Pihema Cameron to death because he thought Cameron was about to tag his fence effectively accuses him of murder, which is by no means certain.

    …you are simply trying to attack the post without making the counter-argument you actually believe: ie that Emery was in the right. have some guts and make that argument.

    And now you’re equally, and equally unjustifiably, confident about my motives. But what the hell: personally, I don’t think we have the right to kill intruders on our property. On the other hand, if someone feels safer arming themselves before going out to confront potentially violent intruders, I have plenty of sympathy for them. Like it or not, there’s a big difference between killing someone while committing a crime and killing someone while defending your property – both are wrong, but one’s way the hell wronger than the other.

  56. Steve Pierson 56

    psycho. read the eariler thread on this issue: there’s a difference between saying someone murdered someone (a matter of law) and saying someone killed someone (a matter of fact). I said Emery killed Cameron, nothing more.

  57. rjs131 57

    I accept that some people get very upset if their private property is tagged

    What kind of world do you live in Hiliary? I would be worried if anyone didnt get upset if their private property was tagged. Are you suggesting that you invite taggers to your private property (if you own any that is) to tag it in order for them to express their dispossessed status….

    Tagging private property is a crime, being dispossed is no excuse for committing crime. The poor kid didnt deserve to be killed for it, that isnt in doubt but it is reactions like yours which only stir responses like Mcvicar’s

  58. Yes the media is disgusting when it comes to reporting crime. No more so than when Steven Wallace attempted to murder a Police Officer and got shot, and TVNZ did their best to make him into a national hero, along with several political parties.

    The owners of this blog, seem to have disagreement with sensible sentencing, what I would like to know is, what is a fair sentence according to the Standard for crimes of Vandalism? Murder? Rape?

    Or do you think these crimes are society’s fault?

  59. higherstandard 59

    Psycho

    Like it or not, there’s a big difference between killing someone while committing a crime and killing someone while defending your property – both are wrong, but one’s way the hell wronger than the other.

    I have to agree all shades of grey – I must admist if my property and family were threatened I couldn’t guarantee that my response wouldn’t be violent.

  60. Matthew Pilott 60

    Brett, there’s no one ‘fair sentence’ for any category of crime. My personal antipathy towards McVicar is the frenzied irrational knee-jerking that occurs whenever he can get into the public eye. No sentence is long enough and his answer for everything is only “more jailtime”.

    There seems to be an exception here though, because the victim was also (so it is suggested) engaging in a criminal act.

    Why McVicar thinks that excuses murder, well, God knows, I don’t find him rational at the best of times.

    Why do you think the authors of a labour-movement aligned blog are the qualified to decide the judicial response to certain crimes?

    BTW, Do you agree with the following statement: “citizens of a wealthy society are less lilely to commit crime than those from a relatively deprived society”?

  61. Tane 61

    Brett, it’s not The Standard’s job to tell you what fair sentences are for vandalism, murder and rape. Steve is simply making the point that killing someone is not an appropriate response to attacks on private property.

  62. Steve Pierson 62

    Brett.

    a) appropriate responses and punishments for crimes depend on individual circumstances.

    b) crimes are a range of behaviours that a society deems so unacceptable that the society, through the state, may inflict punishments on the person who does the behaviour. People have varying propensities (determined both by nature and nuture) to such behaviours and whether they actually do them also depends on the social, economic, political, and physical conditions they find themselves in.
    examples:
    People with jobs don’t steal as often as those without jobs
    People with easy access to firearms are more likely to shoot people than those without
    People living/growing up in violent conditions are more likely to engage in violence themselves
    Areas that are isolated, dark, far from the eye of police, security, and ordinary people experience more crime.

    c) I know that might be hard to fit in your stockholder paradigm but the Standard doesn’t have owners. We don’t have shares, a board of directors, or even an AGM. Hell, we don’t even reserve copyright.

  63. sean14 63

    Pablo – Do you find it easier to be abusive while anonymous?

  64. I find it incredible that anyone could suggest that defending property would justify taking another person’s life.

    You haven’t spent much time on kiwiblog then have you?

  65. Steve Pierson: I said Emery killed Cameron, nothing more.

    Not so. You said Emery stabbed Cameron “because he thought Cameron was about to tag his fence.” That assertion of intent and motive turns it from a simple statement that a person was killed, to a declaration of murder. If you kill someone because you thought they were about to tag your property, that’s murder plain and simple. Not explicitly using the word “murder” doesn’t alter that fact.

    We don’t know the circumstances of this killing. Maybe Emery was real mad at having his property tagged and stabbed the guy in anger. Maybe he’s a cold-blooded killer who hates darkies. Maybe there was a struggle and an accident. Maybe it was self defence. Any opinions we express on the case should reflect that absence of knowledge.

  66. Steve Pierson 66

    psycho. read the accounts. there’s no dispute that of the facts I’ve given – those facts do not necessarily make Emery guilty of murder, there are a number of defences that are possibly applicable and if they do apply they would mean it was not murder, that would not change the fact Emery killed Cameron..

  67. Hillary 67

    RJS131, what exactly would you be worried about if someone wasn’t upset if their property was tagged? I wouldn’t be particularly worried if someone tagged my fence, although I would prefer they did something with artistic merit. I haven’t had my property tagged, but I have been burgled and it didn’t bother me too much. I feel incredibly fortunate to have a nice home, but I’m not going to get bitter and twisted if something happens to it. I am very aware that the majority of people in the world, including many New Zealanders own very little private property.

    killinginthenameof, no I haven’t fortunately.

  68. Billy 68

    You sound really cool and neato, Hillary. What’s your address?

  69. Hillary 69

    Why, do you want to go on a date Billy?

  70. Jay 70

    “You sound really cool and neato, Hillary. What’s your address?”

    Better yet what’s your licence plate number? Watching the news several weeks there was a story on how ‘etching’ seems to have become the newest trend as well as forcing the replacement of windows for businesses costing thousands of dollars. Given your stance on this behaviour I’m sure you’d like to be on the cutting edge of this new urban artform.

  71. Billy 71

    No, dummy. I want to tag your fence. Since you don’t care I don’t expect you to have a problem with that. Or was that just bravado?

  72. Pascal's bookie 72

    I think that was understood Billy.

    Does knowing the Dalai Lama is a pacifist make you want to meet with him so you can give someone a consequence free kick in the nuts?

  73. Billy 73

    If he told me he wanted a nuts-kick with artisstic merit, maybe.

  74. Ari 74

    Milt- Steve is saying that the MOTIVE you question is also a matter of public record, not just the fact of the killing. Thus stating a killing along with the motive on record should not be considered controversial. 🙂

    Billy- Is your last name Clinton, by any chance? 😉 Just wondering.
    Seriously though, I agree with some of what Hillary said- artistic Graffiti is okay on bland, undecorated public spaces. I’d much rather see these painted by the community- even if just improvisationally- than simply blank. That said, I think we ought to invite people to do so in predetermined places, rather than accept uninvited art.

    Tagging/graffiti on private property is almost categorically unacceptable.

  75. Matthew Pilott 75

    We could combine the tagging-is-not-art concept with the artistic-nuts-kick, and everyone would be happy – apart from taggers with sore nuts.

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