A Murderers rights MORE important than his Victims!
In July 2016 Kim Richmond was cold heartedly murdered by her husband Cory Jefferies. It was 11 months before her body was found submerged in the family ute at the bottom of Lake Arapuni. Three innocent children lost their mother forever; selfishly stolen at the hands of their father.
Three years on Kim’s parents have not only had to deal with the traumatic grief of losing their beloved daughter to a senseless murder; they have had to suffer the ongoing legal battle for the custody of their grandchildren. A stressful, unfair battle that has been dominated by the man who murdered Kim. He selfishly stole the children’s rights to the love, support and nurturing of their much loved and needed mum, yet he still had the legal right to challenge the custody!
Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) National Spokesperson Jess McVicar says “This is a familiar failing within our offender-based Justice system. It is NOT the first such case and will NOT be the last!! We have witnessed first-hand the added grief, unnecessary stress and financial pressure this causes to the victims, due to the offenders constant appeals and legal battles.”
Jess says “When the perpetrator has been found guilty of committing either murder, manslaughter or any other serious violent crime against the parent of the children they share, the offender should automatically lose the right to continue to have any legal rights over the well-being of the children involved.
Kim Richmond’s parents have battled for over 8 months for the custody of their three innocent grandchildren, as Kim's killer has repeatedly delayed the custody application from behind bars; deliberately stalling the custody process. The lengthy and stressful legal battle has cost the Richmond’s thousands of dollars.
Karen Edwards, who the Sensible Sentencing Group Trust have supported, says “I wouldn’t have suffered 12 months of added stress, anguish and financial loss on top of the horrific grief of losing my daughter, and my grandchildren wouldn’t have gone without financially if I had been granted Legal Aid to obtain immediate guardianship of my daughters’ children.” Karen’s daughter Ashlee was murdered at the hands of her partner.
Jess says “The SST are appalled that the Justice system would allow this legal battle to go on for so long, but we are not surprised! The way our New Zealand Justice systems works allows the offenders to have far more rights than our innocent victims do! Litigation round the rights of victims versus the rights of offenders continues to re-victimise, re-traumatise and hugely impact financially on the victims, by offenders who selfishly chose to harm and it is our offender-based Justice system that allows these appeals and legal battles to continue."
"Meanwhile the victims have to continue to fight for their rights; including the right to grieve. The repetitive cycle of abuse needs to be eliminated; the offender must be stopped from having all the power and control from behind prison walls.”
Jess says “In cases like this, especially ones that involve innocent children, the victims well-being and safety must be the paramount consideration. It should not be about ensuring only the offender has their human rights adhered to. When offenders like Cory Jeffries choose to commit horrific violent crimes, they must automatically lose their rights as a parent. The law needs to be urgently looked at and changed in these cases”