The injustice system | The Jackal

9 Dec 2011

The injustice system

Last month, Pita Sharples made the brave move of saying that our justice system was prejudiced and discriminated against Maori.

There is no question that he's right... only those who are racist themselves or ignorant to the many cases of bias against Maori would argue against his statement:

"Maori offenders are arrested at three times the rate of non Maori for the same crimes. They are also more likely to have police contact, to be charged, to lack legal representation, not to be granted bail, to plead guilty and to be convicted," said Sharples.

Although obviously grandstanding prior to the 2011 election, Sharples raises a most worthwhile topic for debate... is there endemic racism within our justice system?

Of course the argument was dismissed by the right wing on spurious grounds and nothing has changed. The influence of various organizations like the SST and the private prison industry on the powers that be will not allow any proper investigation into the issue... and it will be swept under the carpet.

It seems that the acceptance of discriminatory practices is the main problem, whereby racism within the general population is unfortunately mirrored by our legal and political representatives.

The question is whether you believe that Maori are born bad because of their genes, or that social conditioning gives rise to increased crime or that the justice system is geared against Maori?

Personally I think it's a combination of the last two... but if you needed any further evidence that the justice system treats Maori differently to Pakeha, read this article:

The man who organised the fatal "hit" on young father Raymond Piper is poised to be freed on parole – just 10 months after he was sentenced. 
Mr Piper's family say they feel "punched in the face" by this week's decision to free Sean Hawke, 51, early in the new year. 
And in a rare move, the chairman of the Parole Board has spoken out, saying he understands the shock and outrage felt by victims' families, but has to abide by the law. 
"If we come to the view that someone is not going to be an undue risk, the law requires us to release them. It's as simple as that," Judge Sir David Carruthers said. 

Being that their crime is so heinous to begin with and they have received no rehabilitation, the risk of Sean Hawke, 51, and his sister Susan Bragger, 45 re-offending in some way is high.

The justice system has ignored the fact that if Hawke and Bragger hadn't employed a hit man to make Raymond Piper "disapear," he would still be alive today. Serving less than a year for constructive manslaughter is completely wrong and a miscarriage of justice.

You might have noticed that Hawke and Bragger are white while their victim is Maori. Did this have any influence on the judges decision or the boards early parole... it certainly looks like it:

"Sometimes it's unpopular, sometimes it's unwelcome and sometimes it can be seen as outrageous because the offending is awful – but we do our job and our duty under the law and sometimes that's not easy." 
Hawke and his sister Susan Bragger, the mother of Mr Piper's former partner, were jailed for three years in February after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit grievous bodily harm to Mr Piper, 23, known as Son, of Paekakariki. 
Bragger paid hitman Ainsley Anderson $3500 to give Mr Piper a bashing to get him out of her daughter Hanna Lark's life. Hawke assisted her, haggling over the price. 
But Anderson went further than they intended, stabbing Mr Piper to death after a struggle.

So they were convicted of conspiring to commit grievous bodily harm but the actual law that applies concerns constructive malice, whereby the malicious intent inherent in the commission of a crime is considered to apply to the consequences of that crime.

They told the hit-man to make the victim disappear, which can only mean one thing to a thug. Hawke and Bragger should have been held to account for the murder of Raymond Piper and sentenced accordingly. If they were Maori... that's exactly what would have happened.

Why the hell has Hawke now been granted bail after serving a third of what was already a light sentence? Don't expect Garth McVicar to jump up and down about it either... for obvious reasons.

A slap on the hand with a wet bus ticket because he's white is evidence of the endemic and unacceptable racist attitude that pervades our justice system and ensures Maori are overrepresented in our ever expanding prison populations.