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Hilterman Sentencing Sends The Wrong Message

MEDIA RELEASE 5 November 2008

Hilterman Sentencing Sends The Wrong Message

Women’s Refuge says the outcome of Adrian Hilterman’s trial yesterday should be condemned by all New Zealanders.

The former police prosecutor was found guilty of assaults on his wife and children, but walked away from the Tauranga District Court with 150 hours of community service and no penalty for the assaults on his children.

The sentencing judge, Judge Robert Spear, said Adrian Hilterman’s behaviour was a response to stress in the relationship.

Women’s Refuge Chief Executive, Heather Henare, says this result is shocking and disappointing. “We work tirelessly to promote the message that family violence is not ok and a sentence like this undermines everything we are trying to achieve.”

The judge’s comments were completely inappropriate, she said. “Does he think violence is an acceptable response to relationship issues, or stress?” she asked. “Everyone experiences stress at some time in their lives,” she said, “But most of us do not resort to violence, thank goodness.”

“It was disturbing to hear that the judge somehow felt that because Deborah is a strong, articulate woman, this somehow made her responsible for what happened to her.” This judge might have well have said ‘she asked for it’.”

“This is an appalling message to send to the New Zealand public and we hope that people will voice their concern.”

“We feel for Deborah now, because she has been very courageous in speaking out against this violence and also against the police for failing to address this issue for years. She will be feeling very let down after this, but I’m sure she will receive a great deal of support.”

Women’s Refuge is also outraged that Adrian Hilterman received no penalty apart from conviction for the assaults on his children.

Henare says, “The repeal of Section 59, gave children the right to live without violence. Why is this man getting away with assaulting his children? He was found guilty and has walked away without punishment.”

“This judge has failed to hold Adrian Hilterman accountable for his violence and in doing so he has let down Deborah Hilterman and her children.”

Ends

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