Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Avoid the “Oprahfication” of the Courtroom

Select Committee Urged to Avoid the “Oprahfication” of the Courtroom


Rethinking Crime and Punishment agrees that victims should be able to provide information to the court about the effects of offending; and the harm they have suffered. However, it does not believe that the presentation of a victim impact statement in the Court, was the best way to achieve it.

In its oral submission on the Victims of Crime Reform Bill Kim Workman, Director told the Justice and Electoral Select Committee that great care and wisdom will be needed to prevent rhetorical appeals to victims’ suffering to deteriorate into a public skewering of the offender. “At its worst, it could lead to the “Oprahfication” of the Courtroom, , with the TV cameras capturing every twitch of the offender for signs of defiance or remorse, and the New Zealand viewing public casting their votes accordingly.”

“Providing a better service to victims does not always translate into better practise. It would be to the ultimate detriment of the victim if the opportunity to tell the offender in the courtroom how the crime has affected them, became an exercise in retribution. While many victims believe at the that they will feel better for it, research shows that victims who take revenge in this way have often felt worse off than if they had done nothing at all.”

Our experience with restorative justice conferences tells us that the victim’s decision to meet with an offender is driven by one of three things. Firstly, they want to talk about the harm they have suffered, to challenge the offender about their actions, , and have them respond. Secondly, they want to understand why the offender committed the offence, their motivation, and personal circumstances. Thirdly, they want to assess whether the offender is genuinely sorry for what happened.

Victims will continue to be dissatisfied with the proposed arrangements, because the Court does not allow for that sort of dialogue. That is not its function. It leaves victims feeling angry and disempowered.

Mr Workman recommended that instead of a victim reading out a statement, a private facilitated meeting be held between the offender and victim, at which the victim was free to make their feelings known within acceptable limits, and the offender had the opportunity to respond. The outcome of the meeting would then be reported back to the Court, achieving the same purpose as a Victim Impact Statement, but in a way that was more satisfying to the victim.

Reference: Oral Submission to Justice and Electoral Select Committee at:
http://www.rethinking.org.nz/assets/GeneralPDF/120405%20Oral%20Submission%20to%20Justice%20and%20Electoral%20Select%20Committee%20on%20Victims%20of%20Crime%20Reform%20Bill.pdf

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

AMA: Scoop's 'Invisible Paywall'

Operation Chrysalis: The Final Countdown - Thanks & There's Still Time To Pledge

Phew! We are now counting down the hours to the end of this crowd-funding campaign at 11pm on Sunday. Thankyou to all those Scoop readers and supporters who have pledged already. You have been awesome. But this is not over yet. More>>

 
 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: The Myth Of Steven Joyce

Gordon Campbell: The myth of competence that’s been woven around Steven Joyce – the Key government’s “Minister of Everything” and “Mr Fixit” – has been disseminated from high-rises to hamlets, across the country... More>>

ALSO:

RMTU: No Public Submissions On International Government Procurement Deal

“The government is preparing to assent to the Government Procurement Agreement, a World Trade Organisation Treaty which opens up New Zealand Government contracts to foreign companies and closes the door on local businesses and their workers. However the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee is refusing to take public submissions on the decision.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Pacific Spying

So New Zealand spied on its friends and allies in the Pacific – and has not only been passing on the results to the NSA, but has apparently passed on the details of the Pacific’s relations with Taiwan to our other best friends, the Chinese. On the side, the Key government has also been using the security services to gauge the chances of Trade Minister Tim Groser landing the top job at the WTO... More>>

ALSO:

State Housing Transfer: Salvation Army Opts Out

The Salvation Army has decided against negotiating with Government for the transfer of Housing New Zealand stock.
More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news