Sunday, April 15, 2007

Victimless crime…. Again

Sally Shankland and Kevin Houlihan lived together for the past nine years as partners. Perhaps the only thing strange to the outside world was that she is 39 and he is 58, quite an age gap, but not unknown, particular since they are both adults.
However, they have both been arrested and will appear in Auckland District Court tomorrow, charged with incest. Put aside the “eww yuck” comments for a moment and be objective about this.
See Sally was adopted and didn’t meet Kevin, who is her biological father, until she was 30. None of this is particularly important, as it is pretty clear there is no victim in this case. It is nobody else’s business. Remember they have BOTH been arrested and charged, in how many incest cases does THAT happen?
You might think it icky, but then again millions of people think homosexual relationships are icky.

About the only justification for the law against incest are in cases when the law on age of consent applies. The justification on the grounds of genetic illness can hardly be said to be fair, when it is perfectly acceptable for thousands with known genetic problems to breed and produce children that have a high risk of carrying a disease.

So I simply say the law on incest should be at least amended, to be irrelevant when both parties are over 18, or even better repealed. The law exists to protect children from predatory activity, and from those who are in the care of adults as well.

However don’t even expect any parliamentary party to want to stop Sally Shankland and Kevin Houlihan from going to prison, having a criminal record and being denied entry into several countries because their relationship is one other adults don’t approve of. Those (in Labour and the Greens in particular) who fight tooth and nail for same sex couples will be silent on this, will be silent as this couple get convicted and wont engage in this, because few people give a damn.

They wont engage because the prickery in the National party and other opposition parties will stir up hysteria about it, will claim legalising incest is legalising abuse and other complete rubbish.
So this is why the only way this argument can be raised is in the broader context of reforming criminal law, which mean repealing all victimless crimes.
and no, I have no personal interest in this. I do happen to be adopted, and I haven't the slightest interest in any sexual relationship with either biological parent.
However I question why the Police who show little interest in the average burglary or car conversion are wasting taxpayer's money chasing this up - presumably the only reason the Police know is because some busybody has complained. The same reason in the old days when the Police would raid gay couples, because some anally retentive neighbour hasn't approved.
See how worthless the Bill of Rights is in protecting individuals? The smallest and most oppressed minority of all.


llew said...

There seems to be confusion as to whether they are in fact blood relatives.

Nicholas said...

You have a point.

If a complaint of law breaking is given to the police the law is that they have to arrest and lay charges.

In this case it is certainly unusual that both partners are being charged, I agree it changes the law from a protective force into an intrusive force.

It is however not up to police to make law but to enforce laws by investigating complaints. It is then up to the courts to decide if the charges go anyplace.

If the court were to chuck this case out, and set a precident, then the next report of a similar relationship may fall off the radar before arrests are made as there would be a precident.

It is not suprising if no precident has been set in a case like this as it is normally very hard to detect unless some "offense" brings it to light.

libertyscott said...

Consenting adults have been prosecuted for incest in New Zealand before, I believe there is on average a case at least once a year (I've seen it in the papers). said...

Hi, I represent a group of people who are reunited adoptees who are experiencing some form of Xvetokdas( GSA) or as you call it in your article, incest - a victimless crime. I wonder if you know how I can contact the eitherSally Shankland and Kevin Houlihan or their attorney? There is also a case presently in Germany of an adopted sibling couple who are struggling to change the law in Germany. I would like to offer them the support of the group so they know they are not alone.
My email address is and I represent the group Thanks, Tiy

Anonymous said...

Ashamed said.....I guess you don't seem to mention the children and how it may have effected them. They were so young and yet had to live under this roof while their mother had an incest relationship with their grandfather. Oh yes, both Sally and Kevin knew from the beginning they were blood relatives. All I can say is thank goodness they had a father looking over them and loving and protecting them in whatever way he could. How could a mother ever do this to her children is all I can say!!! Another marriage finished, and four children having to try and get back on the right path after living through such shame, which they still find hard to talk about. Prosecute them, lock him up and throw away the key is what I say!

bystander said...

stfu annon

Anonymous said...

That is very sick. If they knew this then they should have walked away. Both of them are sick, especially Sally

Libertyscott said...

tiy_naton: Sorry no idea.

Both anons: Good to know some people think that when others just do something that makes them feel sick, then they should be imprisoned. That's the same essential view behind those who physically abuse family members for having relationships with those they disapprove of.

They are peaceful people hurting no one else, just offending some.

If you're offended, so bloody what?

Anonymous said...

This woman got sick of her relationship with her biological father and decided that a married man with two children was a better option. Even now she can't stay away though he is still with his wife and children. What sort of woman is she?

Anonymous said...

I'm Sally's daughter. Do u still want to contact her. Sadly Kevin passed away 2 years ago of a fight with cancer :(