Steven Wallace - 0900 JUSTICE Is Working Again
11 October 2002
The Steven Wallace Trust Fund for Justice 0900 JUSTICE (0900 58784) number is working again. You can ring the number to make an automatic donation of $20 to the Fund.
Donations would be particularly appreciated at this time because of the high costs of bringing the private prosecution against Constable Keith Abbott who shot and killed Steven in Waitara on 30 April 2000.
The private prosecution began in September 2001, more than sixteen months after Steven's death, because no progress had been made towards justice by the official bodies whose duty it is to investigate the actions of police officers which result in harm or death.
While it was revealed by TV One News, on 15 June, that Cabinet had decided to pay around $130,000 to the Police Association for the cost of Constable Abbott’s defence to date; the Wallace family are not receiving any legal aid for the court case.
Helen Clark was reported as explaining this with: “This is a private prosecution and there is no legal aid for private prosecutions.” “If there was, you would lift the lid off and you would never get the lid back on. It would be fair game for anyone to lodge a private prosecution.” (‘Clark hears of Taranaki issues’, Lyn Humphreys, INL News, 20 June 2002).
As we commented at the time “Given that this is the first private prosecution brought against a serving police officer, it is hardly a question of lifting the lid off. There is a disturbing implication in these comments that a private prosecution is something which is determined by the ability to pay for it - surely a private prosecution should proceed on the merits of the case, rather than whether or not a complainant has the financial resources to fund it. One law for the rich and another for the poor?” (‘A step towards justice? The Chief Justice’s judgment on the shooting of Steven Wallace’, PMA, 25 June 2002).
The trial will begin in the Wellington High Court on 18 November 2002.
* Where you can get more information
More information is available on-line at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/steven.htm The page has been recently updated and includes links to other sites.
* About The Steven Wallace Trust Fund for Justice
The fund was established to help with legal costs and expenses incurred by the Wallace whänau, and to campaign for possible changes to the law and to police procedures - any funds not required for these purposes will be placed in a permanent trust fund for the use of persons finding themselves victims of similar injustices.
You can make a donation to the Fund at any branch of the TSB; by telephoning 0900 JUSTICE (0900 58784) to make an automatic donation of $20 to the Fund; or you can post a cheque to the Steven Wallace Trust Fund for Justice, PO Box 22, Waitara. Cheques should be made payable to 'Steven Wallace Trust Fund'. Receipts for donations made by post will be forwarded if you request one, please enclose your name and address, all donor details will be kept totally confidential.
"This is not just a Waitara tragedy, it was a national tragedy and one we must never allow to occur again" (from the Wallace Whänau Committee statement, June 2000).
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