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Marc My Words

Marc My Words
Sometimes Rights are Wrongs

Here we go again…

Last week I wrote about the risk posed to the community by Lloyd McIntosh. Remember he was the offender who raped a six year old in 1989, and then brutally raped a 23 month old baby girl within three months of being released in 1993.Then, when re-released later on a 24 hour supervision regime he managed to assault an intellectually handicapped woman while his supervisor remained oblivious, outside the door.

Last Monday I joined the family of Gresham Marsh and the families of the victims of his offending, to appeal to the Parole Board that he should not be released from prison. Marsh had sixty prior convictions before killing an elderly couple, telling police that he simply wanted to watch someone die.

Last Wednesday convicted rapist Mosese Taloa was released from Auckland Prison. His offending history goes back to 1985, when as a sixteen year old teenager he was convicted for assault with intent to commit rape. Eleven years later he was convicted for dragging a fifteen year old girl into a culvert and attacking her, in Avondale.

What really galls me is that in each case there is no assurance that these criminals will ever be safe to be let out and yet, it seems our system can do nothing to protect our community from the risk they present. You see…they have the same rights as the rest of us. Rights that are not guarantors of our basic freedoms but entitlements that cut across the rights of everyone else.

In the case of Taloa, not only do the Auckland prison staff, who know him all too well, but the police also, have raised serious concerns about the likelihood of his re-offending. So, despite our prior knowledge that he has an ‘unstable’ personality and represents a continuing ‘undue risk’, our so-called justice system can do nothing but release him into the wider community.

So, why is this?

The provision of these ‘rights’ (entitlements) must surely be balanced against the ‘rights’ of the law-abiding. How is it that we can allow the community to have their right to security trampled because of the entitlements of a high-risk criminal?

I believe that it’s time we stopped using rights as the basis for trying to create equalities where clearly there are none. What stretch of imagination or delusion is required to expect anyone to believe that criminals such as McIntosh, Marsh and Taloa deserve the same consideration as everyone else?

The commonsense answer is that they don’t.

All men (and women) may well be created equal…but the conferring of rights includes consequential duties and obligations. Anything else can only result in a fundamental denial of rights to those who should be the most privileged to hold them – the innocent and the law-abiding.

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