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Scoop Feedback: JPs Are Qualified To Judge

Hi Alastair,

Heard your commentary on bFM yesterday & could not disagree with you more. Two fully qualified JPs listened to 4 weeks of evidence and just as importantly were able to judge the individuals involved. They made a decision based on facts not hearsay.

You seem to imply that as they are JPs then they are not competent to judge. As someone who has commenced the process to become a JP I can assure you that the process is rigorous and the emphasis on legal training now paramount.

To become a JP one must be above reproach & have a proven record of working for the community. With respect I would suggest that given this the 2 JPs in question are far more qualified to comment than you are.

Having followed the case with some interest I believe it would have been repugnant to justice for any other decision to have been made. Wallace was drunk & belligerent. He was armed with a weapon & had already caused thousands of dollars worth of damage. Despite being ordered to drop his weapon on several occasions he continued to advance on a retreating officer who was rapidly getting cornered.

Watching events were no less than 31 witnesses many of whom were likely to be Wallace’s victims if he was allowed to get away. The Officer concerned was not a raw recruit but rather a man of 24 distinguished years of service, who followed his training to the letter.

You are well aware that people in highly emotional states are able to ignore disabling spray even assuming the Officer could have activated it. Pepper spray under the circumstances would have been of no use.

Wallace had a history of violence when drunk to the extent that his terrified family dialled 111 on the night in question. The Officer was in fear of his life and concerned for the safety of others.

Ash Edwards, the epitome of Armed Offenders Policing, stated under oath that he would have taken the same action. Several former Officers did say that the Officers actions were over the top. A perusal of these former Officers show that each of them left the Force under somewhat of a cloud or holding some grievance.

As for your comment that the verdict will somehow inflame racial tension I put it to you that this a rather mischievous comment given that the Officer concerned is also Maori.

One final point. I do not recall similar hand wringing when Constable Murray Stretch was stomped to death in Mangakino. Do I take it from this that you think it is OK for Police to be killed in the line of duty but not for them to defend themselves when protecting the public?

Regards Pat Taylor

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