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Workman’s Comments No Surprise

18 January 2008

Workman’s Comments No Surprise

It is no surprise that those with a personal interest in the youth justice system do not like to hear its failings, says New Zealand First law and order spokesperson Ron Mark.

Mr Mark’s comments follow a press release by Kim Workman of the New Zealand Prison Fellowship this morning, in which Mr Workman defended failings of the youth justice system.

“Mr Workman’s comments are what are expected from a well-known apologist for the youth justice system. He is simply defending the system he has a vested interest in maintaining,” said Mr Mark.

“While judges in the youth justice system have the power to send young offenders to the District Court, the figures show that in most cases, they do not, even if it is warranted. To claim otherwise is not just deceitful, but dishonest.

“Rather than focussing on what the youth justice system could do, as Mr Workman does, we should focus on what it does and does not do. It is blatantly clear to everyone, other than people like Mr Workman, that the system is not working as it should.

“If it was, why would a 15 year old, with a long history of offending, who stole a car and caused a crash which left two people dead and two others seriously injured, be sentenced to just 9 months supervision?

“Why would a Youth Court judge adjudicating on a case involving a 15 year old, who bashed a man so badly Police responding to the incident thought the victim was dead, decide not to send the offender to the District Court for sentencing because it was the offenders birthday?

“Why would a 13 year old who was involved in the brutal murder of Kenneth Piggot be sent to live with family members in Christchurch, where he was, just three years later, involved in the baseball-bat killing of another man?

“Further, it is our belief that the 18 and 19 year old ‘adults’ in the most recent spate of violent attacks will be well-known failures of the youth justice system that is so lauded by people like Mr Workman.

“The bottom line is simple - the system is failing New Zealanders. People are dying as a result of these failures, and it is time the system and its supporters were held to account,” said Mr Mark.

ENDS

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