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Former CHP Spokesperson: Capill Sentence Too Light

Former CHP Justice Spokesperson Says Capill's Sentence Light

Opinion By Matthew Flannagan

Matthew Flannagan was Justice Spokesperson for Christian Heritage under Graham Capill's Leadership. Currently he is a PhD candidate in Theology at the University of Otago and a researcher for the Locke Foundation.


Capill's actions were wrong, gravely wrong. Rape is one of the worst crimes one human being can commit against another and rape of children is surely the most grave of rapes imaginable. To add to this the fact that the offences were repeated over and over, makes Capill’s offending at the highest end of the scale. In a just society actions of this sort would be punished by death.

Many of Capill’s former associates have stressed the need to forgive Capill, citing the Christian gospels as authority, I think this is mistaken.

First, only the victims of a crime can forgive a person who commits a crime against them, others cannot and have no right to forgive on their behalf.

Second, forgiveness is an appropriate response to an offence by a believer, if confession and repentance accompany the offence.

In Capill’s case this is doubtful, here is why.

First Capill only confessed the crimes when forced to, he confessed to lesser (but still serious charges) only when the evidence was presented in court. He claimed to be remorseful but yet did not confess the full extent of his crime.

Second, Capill when confronted with the second set of crimes did not confess immediately but took time to ponder it.

Third, after confessing Capill engaged in some behaviour that makes the whole thing appear a charade, he wrote to some CHNZ members criticising the leader of CHNZ for condemning his actions and suggesting the matter was not serious. He also circulated a letter to friends claiming the child consented to sex, something which contradicts the guilty plea he laid and asking them to pray for a light sentence.

Fourth, Information in the Herald today suggests he also lied to the girls and used his knowledge as a lawyer to prevent them coming forward.

These factors in cast doubt on the sincerity of Capill’s confession and public repentance and suggest a man who is using feigning repentance to save his own skin. He also is misusing the teachings of Christianity as a front to save himself from the consequences of his actions.

This has failed. The irony is that Capill has been saved not by Christian teachings but by the rejection of it. If justice according to the law of nature were to be meted out Capill would face the gallows in a few days. He will not. Ironically it is not feigned outward religiosity that has saved him from justice, it is the nation’s rejection of Gods laws that has saved him; the opposition that Capill ostensibly railed against but apparently inwardly embraced.

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