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Alexander stands up for terrorised family

Alexander stands up for terrorised family

In yet another example of the lack of victims' rights, a Christchurch family spent a weekend of fear recently, not knowing if the knife-wielding teen who had terrorised them had been let loose by the authorities, United Future's Marc Alexander said today.

"This very dangerous young man was arrested, but his victims - an elderly woman, her daughter and her five-year-old grandchild - were left petrified, not knowing whether he was back walking the streets or in secure custody.

"The authorities simply wouldn't tell them," Mr Alexander, United Future's law and order spokesman, said. "That is how ridiculous it is."

Mr Alexander helped the family establish that the attacker was being held in Kingslea correctional facility for teen offenders, and would remain there at least until a court appearance on April 9. In a further twist, Mr Alexander also had to intervene on the family's behalf after they were told they could not be present in the closed Youth Court.

"They were given completely wrong information about their rights, and I have had that cleared up and they are now applying for permission to attend, as they are entitled to do, when the young man appears in court.

"This is just one of all too many examples where victims are simply thrown aside and forgotten about, and the Victims Rights Act is ignored," he said.

"I had these people in my office in tears. That's what it comes down to; that is the impact these stupid, bureaucratic decisions are having on people's lives, and it's got to stop."

Mr Alexander said the family's trauma was compounded by an unhelpful emergency operator and a 45-minute delay in the police arriving at the scene, by which point neighbours had knocked the teen unconscious with a shovel.

"It was very lucky that the delay didn't cost lives," he said.

Last month, Mr Alexander successfully campaigned against the Parole Board decision to refuse Rita Croskery access to the parole hearing of the woman who robbed her son, murdered Auckland pizza delivery driver, Michael Choy, as he lay dying.

He attended the hearing with her in Christchurch last Thursday.

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