Continuing in our series of migrants tales – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand taken from places around the net.
Today’s tale, written by a British migrant in the small town of Rangiora, is deeply disturbing for a number of reasons. Firstly, the nature of the awful crimes that were committed against children, secondly the unwillingness of the state to punish the perpetrator for his actions and lastly, the lack of support for the victims and their parents.
This tale was first published on a migration forum, it appeared around the same time as name suppression and a sentence of home detention was given to a Wellington man in his 30s who was secretly filming young girls and women without their knowledge. Rather than serve jail time for the violations against these females he is to receive counseling. At the time of his offending he worked for the Department of Internal Affairs.
You may be justified if you believe the criminal justice system in New Zealand favors the rights of the criminal above those of the victim, or that having strong community connections affords some kind of protection for wrongdoers.
Justice New Zealand Style
This is a difficult story to write, but if it can assist anybody or possibly change sway anyone’s decision then my time is well spent. If you are in the same situation then please get in touch. Please, I’d like to hear from you.
I don’t particularly want to identify myself for reasons that will become clear and I cannot identify other parties due to legal reasons so some of the details will have to remain vague.
We have been in NZ for nearly 8 years and our experiences have been mostly good times, really good times in fact. As a potential migrant all those years ago I asked for and received useful advice on this site, In due course as we arrived in NZ I was able to help and provide advice on our personal experiences at the time. In fact one of my local friends is from those early days. In time I got out of the forum habit and just got on with life in NZ. We had the Christchurch earthquakes come and go, I don’t live but do work in Christchurch so experienced all of that in full technicolour, so to speak.
Almost exactly a year ago we returned to the UK for a wonderful holiday with the kids, On our return to NZ we arranged dinner with our best friends who bought their grandson to play with our kids as usual. My best friend shared my hobby, it’s an unusual hobby, totally harmless but I can’t say what it is as it would identify the friends. I’d known him from before we emigrated, it’s a small world and over time we had become great friends. We had lunch together, baked beans on toast, every Thursday for over 6 years, we went on holiday together many times. Then the bombshell.
At the end of the night, my son who had a friend over for a sleepover, wanted to tell us something. It turns out that the grandson had tried to abuse my sons best friend but he had fought back and had stopped him. My son then told us that the grandson pulls his pants down. The evening got a bit weird then, we tried to get rid of our friends quickly and ask our children, one boy one girl, what had happened. The story emerged over the course of the next few days.
Long story short now. Many police, evidential interviews later and the grandson is charged with 11 specimen charges against 4 children including both of mine. There are at least another 5 children involved that the children could not get reliable evidence from or whose parents refused to allow the children to be interviewed. One of the other 4 children is his cousin. My children were the worse affected, initially we thought it was my daughter but actually it was my son. He groomed my kids for 4 years before culminating in repeatedly raping my son at knife point, my son being 11 at the time. My daughter was held down at knife point and violated with a series of progressively larger objects, she was 9.
He categorically denied all the charges.
My wife and I then had to attend an absolutely farcical “Family Group Conference’ with the (ex) best friends and this monster to discuss what we would like to happen. That was the worst day of my life. This is a legal requirement btw. We went well prepared and said our prepared pieces with dignity and courage, we both held it together long enough to get the words out without breaking down. It was horrendous. We even acknowledged how hard it must be for the ex best friends etc. Then came the ex friends turn to speak, nothing, not a word. No sign of empathy, nothing. The just shook their heads and stared at the table. His family and full entourage (CYFs, STOP program advisor, counsellors, social workers, whanau etc) occupied most of the room, there was just the two of us on our side of the table. We had to decide on the jurisdiction of the trial (Youth court or District court) We obviously wanted District court and were led to believe that due to the length and severity of the charges that district court was a certainty. After months of not knowing we were told it was staying in Youth as the grandson needed help more than punishment.
We start to mentally prepare for the trial on the 12th August, the day after my wife’s 40th, and explain to the children that they need to be brave etc. Nobody gets much sleep.
As I mentioned before the offender has an entourage, all helping his every need, he gets taken to college, picked up again, he has counselling sessions. My children have nothing, absolutely nothing provided by the state. We had a single meeting with CYFs a year ago who advised us to take the kids to Denny’s for breakfast every now and again. Of course we have sought out private counselling sessions which have been brilliant for the kids, they are doing OK, not great but OK.
Then we discovered a few months ago that his lawyer had put in a plea bargain, he was prepared to admit to some of the lesser charges if the crown drops the rapes, the knife violence and the violations against my daughter charges.
Today we have found out that the crown has agreed, which means that there is no trial and he has effectively got away with it. He will have to attend the STOP program (which is a group hug session once a week) and that is it. No detention, no prison, nothing. And he’s out there amongst your children. Justice NZ style.
Are we going to stay in NZ? probably. Are we going to move? of course. Do we feel a massive sense of injustice? ?
Sex abuse destroyed my family (Stuff.co.nz)
“My family has been devastated by generational violent sex crimes by the same predator. My wife was abused for years from the age of seven while in the care of foster parents. Many years later, my 9-year-old daughter was molested by the same man. Innocent children seldom recover from the psychological injuries of sex crimes…
The perpetrator was convicted of sexual abuse and imprisoned. He received a light sentence and we received no compensation. He now lives in a financially secure position with name suppression, while all aspects of our life have been ruined.
In the end, through the stress of seeing our family self destruct, we escaped to Australia where we currently live…” source
- I caught a man filming me (Stuff.co.nz)
- Migrants Tales – England is the Best Place for Us Riots and All (e2nz.org)
- Migrant Tales – Some of the Memories We Will Take Back With Us to Scotland (e2nz.org)
- Migrant Tales – Winter is Coming and New Zealand Homes are Dank and Full of Draughts (e2nz.org)
- Huge rise in child abduction cases (e2nz.org)