Saturday, September 06, 2008

8 years for fraud, 6 years for rape

Now I'm not privy to all the details of both cases, but if you wanted examples of how the criminal justice systems looks unfair to your average punter then check these two cases out:

- A welfare benefit fraudster is getting 8 years in prison. According to Stuff he defrauded taxpayers of NZ$3.48 million over 3 years, using 123 separate identities (yes he was determined)! An incredible amount. His flat alone contained NZ$868,000 in cash and NZ$355,000 in gold ingots, which of course is now state property (don't expect your share back though). Wayne Thomas Patterson appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. 8 years is a hefty sentence, but much of that is deterrent.

- The Waikato Times reports that Joshua Ruatekaumatahi Baker has been sentenced 6 years in prison for repeatedly raping a girl under 16. It was a four to five hour ordeal inflicted upon the victim. He warned her to tell no one, returned two weeks later to her bedroom undoubtedly to repeat his crime when she "alerted family members". We wont know if this lowlife is a family member, but we do know this girl is traumatised and it will last longer than 6 years. We also know that Baker lacked remorse, although he wrote a letter of remorse one wonders if this was following legal advice.

6 years for rape, with an individual who is probably going to pose a threat again. 8 years for benefit fraud. Should the sentences be reversed? Should the rapist be getting the 14 years maximum for sex with someone underage? What happens to both men when they are released?

My view is that criminals should have a points system. The crime you commit earns you "points" which when they go beyond 100 puts you in long term preventative detention. Property offences would earn no more than 20, violent offences could earn up to 100. The lesson would be simple. Criminal justice gives everyone one chance to rehabilitate, if there is genuine remorse and perhaps undiagosed mental illness. Depending on the severity of the crime there may be more chances or no more.

However first and foremost, sentencing should be relative according to the crime and impact on the victim. The taxpayer is less hurt by the thieving actions of a fraudster than a girl is by a rapist.

1 comment:

DigiSlidz said...

What about the guy who killed with his car and got "nine months' home detention, 240 hours' community work, and was disqualified from driving for two years". He was over the speed limit and unsupervised on a learner licence. He is sorry but still killed somebody and is not going to jail!

What price a life?