Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Marc My Words - 29 October 2004

Marc My Words
http://www.Marc-Alexander-MP.org/marc_my_words.htm

When The Quality Of Compassion Is Strained

.
Imagine being a mother, called by the police, and told that your 29 year old son has died.

Envisage also that he didn't die because of an accident or a health problem but that he was accosted by two youths who did not know him, who set upon him with their fists and shoes, a knife and fence palings.

Now try to put yourself in the position of that 29 year old, being attacked, terrified and running away to escape, only to be cornered and then stabbed, stomped on and beaten to death.

Shannon McComb was that young man. He was so badly injured that he was wrapped in blue plastic inside his coffin.

His murderous tormentors were given their sentence in court yesterday. While Shannon's family lost a son and brother forever, Kevin Green and Pakanui Morice paid the 'small price' of a non-parole sentence of 17 years. Nevertheless the Judge should be highly commended. In the scheme of things he handed down one of the longest sentences possible, dismissing the claims by their defence counsels that Morice was, at 17years, relatively immature and had difficulty 'conceptualising' what he had done; and that Green (aged18) did feel remorse. Frankly who cares? I know I sometimes sound like a broken record but these thugs deserve to sit out their natural life behind bars with their internment to look forward to and think about what they've done. They, along with other criminals of their ilk, should be made to work from sunup to sundown, with a constant reminder of the life they chose to end and the family they chose to destroy.

Underpinning this sad saga.and one you won't find in the pages of our media because for the most part they can't be bothered to dig any deeper than the lurid details they deem necessary in order to sell their papers, was what I learnt when I spent last Saturday in Hamilton with Shannon's mother Kristine and stepfather Richard. They are wonderfully warm people, who in spite of the tragedy of their son's untimely death have found an inspirational strength that should never have been tested. They, like most Kiwis, want justice done.

They told me what Shannon was like.his gentle nature, his closeness to his younger brother and older sister. My primary reason for seeing them was because they had trouble including some key points they wanted to raise in their victim impact report. Although we have the Victims Rights Act 2002, some of its provisions have yet to bed down as standard practice.

The issues they wanted to include were considered 'prejudicial' to the offenders. One was a telephone message from Shannon to his family telling them that he was planning to see them soon and that he loved them; the other was a photograph of Shannon in his younger days. Personally I don't see how either could be 'prejudicial'. Surely it must be left up to the victims - in this case the surviving family- to determine the full impact of the crime.

At that point I intervened to find what is allowable in this situation and the judge ruled accordingly. I have no doubt this had an effect in determining the severity of the sentences. However it is sad that it took the intervention of an MP to achieve what should be an automatic right.

A secondary issue has also arisen because prior to Shannon's murder TVNZ had recorded an interview on an unrelated matter. Understandably Shannon's family has pleaded for the segment not to proceed. I have been in touch with TVNZ and they are adamant that they will proceed with the screening.

Now I accept that public interest should not be compromised. I also support the freedom of the Press. We cannot allow news to be subject to continual veto by members of the public because the views expressed might embarrass or be hurtful. I understand all that but.and it's a big but. sometimes the media has got to be bigger than that. Sometimes there has to be an ethical decision that works in favour of the public good not to portray certain things.

In Shannon's case public interest is not excluded by putting the wishes of the family first. At the very least TVNZ could allow the family to view the segment first - not to edit, but to allow some prior knowledge of the item. And would it hurt TVNZ at all if the family was given a respectful time to recover from the wounds of the court process? Would that not be in the public interest of any victims who may one day find themselves in the same situation?

It would be a double calamity if rather than helping a family to heal and come to terms with their loss, the very media given a charter to advance the public good, ends up undermining it. Compassion still has a place in our society. I urge those who agree with me to write to TVNZ and ask for the segment 'Down and Out' to be pulled, (at least for the time being); and if it is not, then vote with your remote by watching something else.

Let us give Shannon the peace he was so brutally denied in life.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On What We Could Do For Hong Kong, If Only We Dared

There has been something repulsive about PM Jacinda Ardern’s assurances that our joint 5 Eyes criticism of China’s actions over Hong Kong – and China’s harsh reaction – are all well understood on both sides. According to Ardern, it has been a case of us saying the sort of things we’ve said before, them acknowledging our need to do so, and then them responding much as we would expect them to do. All neat and tidy. Frankly, if all of this is merely virtue signalling on our part, and huffy declarations of independence on their part, then what’s the point of this diplomatic dance..? More>>

 

New Zealand Government: Speech From The Throne

It is my privilege to exercise the prerogative of Her Majesty the Queen and open the 53rd Parliament.
In the October election, New Zealanders elected a majority Government for the first time under our Mixed Member Proportional electoral system... More>>

Grant Robertson: Government To Review Housing Settings

New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission: Recommends New DNA Laws For Criminal Investigations

Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission today released a report that recommends a new, comprehensive regime to control how DNA is obtained, used and retained for criminal investigations. The report has revealed significant gaps in the operation ... More>>

ALSO:


Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>

ALSO:

Green Party: Announce Portfolio Reshuffle With Talented And Energised Caucus Team

“The Green Party caucus offers a breadth of talent and energy to the Parliament this term. In ten MPs you have a small business owner, a human rights lawyer, an academic, a climate negotiator, a transport planner, and so much more”, Green Party ... More>>

ALSO:

APEC: New Zealand Ready To Host Virtually

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took over the leadership of APEC earlier today, when she joined leaders from the 21 APEC economies virtually for the forum’s final 2020 meeting. “We look forward to hosting a fully virtual APEC 2021 next year. While ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels