Kaikoura. Weak Justice Fails To Curb Crime Problem

We’ve often blogged about the small tourist township of Kaikoura and its reputation for violence and crime.

Tourists have been hospitalised by marauding mobs, visitors from Christchurch beaten and kidnapped,  seals clubbed to death and vacationing US soldiers robbed.

Then there was the immigrant couple, Ms Irvine-Boag 54, and her partner, Tony Neumann, 53, who moved out of the town because of two violent street assaults and threats that were  made against them.

What a place to live! and who would want to spend time vacationing in such a violent location. Surely there must  safer places around to spend your tourist dollars in? (other places also do whales)

Today we spotted an update to one of these stories. One of the assault cases came up in court and details about the events of that evening have been revealed

First, we see that the victim still has a hard time coping with the after effects of the assault.

 One of the victims of a savage group assault in Kaikoura suffers anxiety attacks and has trouble even walking to his letterbox more than a year after the incident, according to his victim impact statement.

The man suffered a broken jaw, shoulder and widespread bruising about his face and body after he was punched and kicked until he lost consciousness in Beach Rd, Kaikoura, on December 27, 2010.

Judge Denys Barry read some of the statement in the Blenheim District Court yesterday when he sentenced Daniel Leslie Hema, who was one of the men involved in the assault.

Next. The perp effectively got let off. A disappointingly lenient sentence (home detention) was handed out by the court. That is very unlikely to act as a deterrent to other violent offenders in the town.

Hema, 29, of Kaikoura, previously admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent to injure, assault with intent to injure and unlawful assembly. He was sentenced to seven months’ home detention and ordered to pay $8000 in emotional harm to the two victims.

Hema was charged with two others, who have denied the charges.

The offender is obviously one of those good Kiwi blokes, who just happened to ‘get into a bit of bother’ and got a note from his mum to give to the judge.

Hema had “good prospects” working on a dairy farm near Kaikoura and hoped to become a manager of the farm in the future. He was remorseful and also provided references from his employer, friends and family.

It doesn’t help the victim to know that his assailant effectively got away with his crime. What’s more, his chances of getting reparation out of him are slim to nothing: $8,000 from the wages of a dairy farm worker? we don’t think so, neither will there be any penalty for non-payment. But, good luck to him let’s see if he can make the effort to put right the wrongs he’s committed.

Is it any wonder that the town’s mayor, Winston Gray, despairing of the violence in his community said in Nov 2010:

““the incident was not the first against visitors and the community needed to help stamp out violence. He was disappointed so many people were involved in the incident.  “There must have been some amongst them that thought this is not right. Where were they – were they all so alcohol or drug-affected that reasoned judgment had totally gone out the window? Banter between groups of males is one thing; these actions, however, cannot be condoned.

These young men need to realise that they actually do not own this town.””

Well Mr Gray, it would appear that they do own Kaikoura and will continue to do so until the courts start handing out sentences that are commensurate to the crimes committed.

Until then if you’re thinking of visiting Kaikoura we say give it a wide berth.