Shearer slams Key on Edwards parole release (not)

Written By: - Date published: 11:25 am, August 12th, 2013 - 17 comments
Categories: accountability, crime, john key, national - Tags: ,

Crime is always “news”, and this unfortunate case has had a lot of recent coverage:

Police urge killer: ‘Give yourself up’

Convicted killer Phillip Layton Edwards, 33, is still on the run after allegedly kidnapping 2-year-old Gabriel Donnelly from the child’s house in Panmure about 12.45pm yesterday.

The toddler, the son of one of Edwards’ friends, was reunited with his mother yesterday.

Last year, Edwards was released from jail amid warnings by the Parole Board that he was prone to violence and suffered serious mental health issues.

He had been serving a nine-year term for the manslaughter of interior designer and former television host David McNee, 55.

Handling the balance between incarceration and rehabilitation is an almost impossible task. Mistakes are inevitable, and sometimes a person released on parole goes on to commit further horrible crimes. In such cases armchair critics spring up everywhere to criticise the professionals who are trying to make these very difficult decisions.

I’m pleased to see that Labour has not attempted to politicise the current example. The headline of this post is exactly what we are not going to see (apologies for the deception).

Compare with the behaviour of National and John Key, who wallowed endlessly in the similar Graham Burton case:
Labour should make public apology for killing
Clark’s ‘new era’ of accountability fails
National attacks Labour over Burton case
and so on, and so on

Hey journalists – imagine the outrage if David Shearer called for National to make a “public apology” for the behaviour of Phillip Edwards! Then ask yourselves why we accept such crap from National, when we shouldn’t accept it from anyone…

(I note that in calling for the de-politicisation of crime I will be accused of politicising crime – c’est la vie.)

17 comments on “Shearer slams Key on Edwards parole release (not)”

  1. Sable

    National’s whole “political bandwagon”, like most far right wing parties is based on being tough on crime. That is costing the taxpayer millions and millions building institutions to lock people up in for offenses that could have best been resolved using a lighter hand combined with home detention.

    Serious offenders and the less destructive are treated like dirt and offered nothing that even remotely looks like proper rehabilitation. As a result New Zealand in general has a horrible track record on imprisonment and offending per head of population when compared to many other countries.

    As to what politicans or jurnos have to say, well really its all grandstanding and bullshit. Keys and Clarke both felt the answer is more jails not less. National is exacerbating these problems too be following a social policy that favours increased inequality and cruelty towards the poor and mentally ill. That is the weak and vunerable Keys promised to protected when first elected.

  2. Red Rosa

    The US situation is simply staggering. 40 years of ‘law-and-order’ policies, basically since Nixon was elected in 1968, now have 2m Americans incarcerated and 5m under some sort of judicail supervision. Counterpunch says (not yet posted publicly) –

    ” California has over 36 prisons throughout the state, built over the period of the last 40 years. In that same time period, California has built one new university. The extent of the crisis was evident in 1997, when two scholars wrote an article entitled, “Singapore West: The Incarceration of 200,000 Californians.” At the conclusion of their article they lay out a Table which compares the number of people incarcerated in California to 7- European nations (Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom). California had more people in prison than in all of these countries combined.

    And the same article points out that privatization has created the ‘prison-industrial complex’, as the prison corporations seek to maximize the number of inmates, and hence profits. This is another point to ponder.

    • Mike L

      Yes, the US incarceration rate is horrendous —the highest in the world by far. So much for a country which considers itself a human rights exemplar for the rest of the world.

      With 5% of the world’s population it has 25% of the prison population. Many prisoners are punished with lengthy prison sentences for relatively minor crimes.

      Michelle Alexander talks of what she calls the “new Jim Crow” —about one in three African American men will be in prison at some stage of their lives. This is an excellent presentation

  3. One Anonymous Knucklehead

    Well said R0b.

    The National Party cannot afford a reasoned discussion about penal policy, since it would have to then acknowledge the links between crime and inequality, or confront Dame Sian Elias’ pointing out that longer sentences increase the crime rate.

    Instead it allows scum like Capill and Garrett to drive policy.

  4. Rogue Trooper

    then, there are always the lyrics to ‘Crime Of The Century’.

  5. ghostwhowalksnz

    The interesting bit was that this sort of stuff was widespread news, printed and broadcast.

    Now that National is in government, not news anymore thanks very much.

  6. Treetop

    I am so pleased that little Gabriel was found and that someone did not ignore his crying, (crying is what probably saved him). Gabriel could have fallen asleep and this would have exposed him to the unforgiving cold, as he was lightly clad.

    • Binders full of women

      Ditto! And the cops get so much flak esp around their perceived macho streak and all the pursuits.. yet it was recent police grads out doorknocking in the rain that looked in the shed and heard the cry. You are right- the cold could have been fatal. Imagine the joy/relief those cops felt when they gave the little tyke that first hug 🙂

  7. tc

    Wouldn’t hurt to point out the fact that Nat’s haven’t addressed the issue, in fact made it worse though would it.

    The view from the moral high ground may be nice but it may also be a lonely place with no authority.

  8. grumpy

    Never mind, the right wing blogs are doing his job for him. Keeping the general population safe is always a fraught task for the left. The need to balance the rights of the perpetrator is just too tough on their tender sensibilities.

    Key has not responded to the mandate given him at both elections and will suffer as a result – but from the right, not left.

    This topic fuels the “Rise of the Crusher”.

    • chris

      “This topic fuels the “Rise of the Crusher”.”

      Dog help us if Crusher gets anywhere near close to leading the Gnats… it doesn’t bear thinking about.

      • Yeah, the best that can be said is that it lowers the odds for a National government if she takes over, (because she’s far more likely to turn the centrists away from National) but if they do get in, they’d be even more horrendous than usual.

  9. millsy

    I dont know about anyone else, but punching a bloke 40 times resulting in his death seem to be murder to me.

    Had he been convicted of murder (as opposed to manslaughter) then that little boy would never have been kidnapped. But I guess there is a general assumption that if you are gay and like picking up young men you deserve what you get.

    • Mike L

      But I guess there is a general assumption that if you are gay and like picking up young men you deserve what you get.

      The jury might have believed he (Edwards) was provoked by McNee.

      Provocation was allowed as a defence at the time. As it still should be, if any consideration is given to natural justice.

      However when that pretty little white girl got murdered they knee-jerked and did away with the provocation defence.

      • The jury might have believed he (Edwards) was provoked by McNee.

        That’s exactly the point: 12 ordinary New Zealanders believed that an unwanted touch from a gay man was sufficient “provocation” to beat him to death. It would be nice if the fucked-uppedness of that was the reason we no longer have provocation as a defence, but of course it wasn’t considered anything like as serious as the Sophie Elliot case, which caused much more outrage because it involved a pretty young woman being murdered, not some old poofter.

        • I dunno, I like to think at least some of us are capable of being outraged at two things at once. Granted, it’s probably not the majority of people who were behind the removal of that defense, but we can work on that.