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Marc My Words Victims Must Not Be Treated This Way

Marc My Words:

By Marc Alexander

United Future NZ-Christchurch Supplement

Rita Croskery has endured what no mother should ever have to.the murder of her son at the hands of savages who have no right to expect any sympathy.

Her son Michael Choy was killed with the help of seven individuals, each with varying degrees of culpability, but together they embody the worst in our youth.

They included our nation's youngest ever murderer, Bailey Kurariki who received a sentence of seven years and incredulously, a visit from a pair of All Blacks; and Alexander Peihopa who received what passes for a 'life' sentence.

But one of them, Casie Rawiri who was sentenced for a measly four and a half years, is up for parole later this month. This is a mere one third of her sentence and only 6 months since being sentenced in September 2002.

To add insult to injury, Rita Croskery was initially told that she had to be given permission by the Board and the offender to attend the parole hearing!!

Originally I was informed that technically Casie committed burglary only and therefore Rita was not entitled to be on the Victims' Notification Register.

You see. Casie was guilty only (sic) of procuring a knife to cut off Michael Choy's money belt, robbing him.and leaving him to die from the injuries others dealt to him. This runs totally counter to the spirit if not the letter of the Victims' Rights Act passed last December. I chased this up with the office of the Minister of Justice to be told that this is a complete mistake.

Somebody somewhere in Corrections screwed up and, as I commented to my Select Committee colleagues, "Someone's arse should be kicked."

Clearly, Rita has every right to be at the Parole hearing and with her permission, I, along with other supporters will be there with her. I hope to speak out, that such a vulture-like act (as it was described by the sentencing judge) has no place in civil society and that Casie Rawiri must remain behind bars and be brought to account.

Michael Choy's life is worth much more than the original sentence of four and a half years ... to Rita, his family and friends, and to all of us who value and respect life.

Michael's unfulfilled dreams should matter to us all.

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