Theo Kriel’s Sentence May Be Appealed By Solicitor General – Updated x2

(scroll to bottom for update)

The following notification appeared in the Northern Advocate, 11 April 2010

“The Solicitor General is considering whether to appeal the 11-and-a-half year jail term handed down to a Kerikeri teenager convicted of murdering schoolgirl Liberty Templeman.

Whangarei Crown prosecutor Mike Smith sent a request to Wellington asking for a possible appeal against Hermanus Theodorus Kriel’s jail term, which was delivered in the High Court last month.

Kriel, now aged 16, also received a six-month concurrent term for indecently assaulting Liberty Templeman, 15, prior to killing her on November 1, 2008. The sentence shocked Libby’s parents, Andrew and Rebecca Templeman, who slammed it as “farcical” and called for Kriel to be deported to his homeland of South Africa after being released.

Crown Law Office spokeswoman Jan Fulstow  confirmed a request had been received and a decision on whether an appeal would be filed was expected in about a week.

She did not want to comment specifically about the case but said Solicitor-General appeals were usually on the basis that sentences were manifestly inadequate.

Mrs Templeman told the Advocate her family was seeking a legal opinion on the possibility of appealing the sentence.

News of the appeal request comes as the UK-based grandparents of Liberty have launched a petition in a bid to get her killer locked up for longer.

In Brightlingsea, UK, where the Templeman family hails from, Libby’s maternal grandmother, Monica Hempstead, has instigated a petition and is calling on the public to join her in a bid to get Kriel locked up for longer.

The 80-year-old told the Colchester Daily Gazette the Solicitor General or others entrusted with power in New Zealand should change the law so that “punishment fits the crime”.

“We want to make it perhaps a bit better for other parents and to feel we can use this perhaps to make it a deterrent to others. Anybody’s life is worth more than eleven-and-a-half years,” she said.

Libby’s paternal grandmother, Gill Templeman, who lives in Stanway, has added her voice to the cause.

The 73-year-old said she felt the New Zealand and UK laws were similar where sentencings were farcical.

“I think you can get a tougher sentence for money fraud than for taking somebody’s life,” Gill Templeman said.

“This was just a slap on his wrist. By the time he’s 28, he’ll be out eating dinner around his family’s dining room table.”

We wrote about Monica Hempstead’s interview with the British newspaper on 4 April 2010,  here, and we covered the petition and the Facebook page on 28 March 2010, link .

The petition now has 1,030 signatures:

“To:  Solicitor General, New Zealand

We, the undersigned, wish to bring to your attention the lenient sentence imposed upon Theo Kriel on 23/3/2010 in New Zealand.

He was convicted of MURDER and INDECENT ASSAULT upon Liberty Rose Templeman, then just 15yrs old.

The sentence given was a Life Sentence with a non-parol period of just 11.5yrs.

This sentence needs to be reviewed and changed.

We are urging you to please bring heavier penalties to criminals. The sentences given are too light, and not a true reflection upon the feelings of law-abiding citizens.


A British cousin of Liberty Templeman has also thrown her weight behind getting the sentence reviewed. This by Russel Claydon of

“Mrs Arnold, 38, of Bury St Edmunds, who has fond memories of family holidays with her cousin, said: “What they are saying is it is a life sentence but it is not really. They have given him 11-and-a-half years which is not even the full life Libby led – she was 15 when she was murdered.

“We want justice, not just for her, but for everyone else who has to go through (something) this.”

The family, who originate from Long Melford, have had their lives turned upside down since November 2008, when Libby’s body was found in the Wairoa Stream at Kerikeri.

A worldwide petition has been launched by a friend close to the family in New Zealand following outrage at what has been described by Libby’s parents as a “farcical” sentence given to Kriel, now 16.

“I wanted to try and do my bit from this end,” said Mrs Arnold, a mother of two children aged nine and eight. “To get 11 years, that is just nothing really, that to me is not justice. As far as I am concerned he has got away with it – he has almost got away with murder.”

Mrs Arnold, who followed events in the court room last month via rolling news channels and phone calls with her aunt, said the look on Libby’s killer’s parents’ faces when the sentence was read out made the situation unbearable for the whole family. They now feel something must be done to review the decision, with people being urged to write, in letter or online, to Dr David Collins, Solicitor General in New Zealand – the only man with the power to change the decision.

Libby had been set to fulfil her dream of a career on the stage after securing a place at an acting school before her life was snatched away prematurely.”

There are presently 21 teenage killers in detention in New Zealand and the appeal against Kriel’s sentence comes at a time when New Zealand is trying to come to terms with NZI figures that show it has the fifth highest murder rate in the OCED. See “Migrants’ Tales – NZ a more dangerous, more violent place

‘Killer’ Nation’s underbelly of Crime and Violence

A few days ago the Herald has told the story of Harry Young, who moved from East Lancashire to New Zealand seven years ago, looking for a better life for his family.

Harry’s daughter Jane, 16, was one of two young women murdered in the Edgeware Road killings, Christchurch 3 years ago. Lipine Sila was sentenced to life with a minimum non parole period of 17 years for their deaths.  Mr Young gave told the paper they’d moved to New Zealand to:

“escape worrying levels of crime, drug abuse and violence in a society he felt was full of social unrest.

He chose “100 per cent Pure” Godzone to live, because of its billing as a safe paradise to raise a family and “to get away from it all“.

Now he feels he made a terrible mistake.

New Zealand has an underbelly of general crime and violence and social practices that’s not really known about,” he says.

The 50-year-old’s view of his new homeland has been changed by his daughter’s horrific murder

Harry Young says his friends and family overseas view New Zealand as a dangerous place after Jane’s death and are now also aware of tourists being “raped and robbed” too.

He says the Corrections Department is failing and should be renamed. Offenders just spend time with other criminals and emerge worse than when they went in… “

Update 16 April 2010

The Northland Advocate has announced that Mr and Mrs Templeman have written to Prime Minister John Key and Police Minister Judith Collins to impress on them their concerns about the light sentence.

A decision from the Crown Law Office about the appeal is expected at the end of the week. The Advocate’s report also published a statement from Garth McVicar of the Sensible Sentencing Trust:

“The Sensible Sentencing Trust described Kriel’s sentence as “absolutely pathetic”.

National spokesman Garth McVicar  said sentences  for murderers were too light.

He said for  too long New Zealand’s justice system had been offender-friendly when it should be victim-centred.

The Templemans probably don’t know but they’ll have to front up the Parole Board in 11 years to argue why Libby’s killer should not be released,” Mr McVicar said.

He’s lobbying the Government to allow victims to have a say in the sentencing process.

“There’s absolutely no doubt what the public want,” Mr McVicar said.

“It just seems to be that judges in recent times have been giving out pathetic judgments.”

The NZ Institute, an independent think tank,  recently issued a report which showed that New Zealand has the fifth highest murder rate in the OECD.

Update 16 June 2010

Libby’s family are pinning their last hope for justice for their daughter on Kriel’s parole hearing 11 years from now, despite the petition attracting more than 2,500 signatures.

Letters requesting help from the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers “attracted nothing more than polite replies.” Mrs Kriel is still adamant that ” migrants to New Zealand who are found guilty of serious crimes should be deported.” and said a recent court decision where a man was jailed for only two years for  killing a school principal was “just unbelievable”. “And yet people get 15 years for selling fake handbags.”  (source)