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McVicar has lost moral right to speak for victims

26 November 2010

Media Statement

McVicar has lost moral right to speak for victims

Labour’s Law and Order spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove has condemned Sensible Sentencing Trust boss Garth McVicar for his crass and insensitive attack on Police Commissioner Howard Broad on a day when police were still coming to terms with one of the worst experiences in their recent history.

“I could not believe that even someone as hypocritical and discredited as Garth McVicar would descend to the level he did yesterday in calling on Howard Broad to resign immediately,” Clayton Cosgrove said. “Given that he’s lost his credibility, it seems that his only tactic now to gain publicity is to make more and more extreme statements.

“Howard Broad is on record as saying that the Pike River Mine disaster was one of the most ‘extraordinarily difficult … and challenging’ police roles he has encountered in his long career. The police response, led by Superintendent Gary Knowles, had earned his ‘utmost admiration,’ Howard Broad said.

“Commissioner Broad stood by his superintendent’s side in this most tragic event, but then returned to Wellington and to a despicable attack yesterday from a man who can’t hold his head up in the same company as the Commissioner.

“His ‘crime’, according to Mr McVicar, who seems to see himself as the only true voice for victims, was to question how effective and efficient it is to use prison as much as we do now to sanction offenders,” Clayton Cosgrove said. “In doing that Mr Broad seemed to be echoing what many New Zealanders are saying --- that there has to be a better way of changing prisoner behaviour so they don’t continue to offend and create more victims.

“As Mr Broad says, surely the best way to stop more Kiwis becoming victims is to prevent crime in the first place. But Mr McVicar is not like many other New Zealanders. Anything that even remotely challenges the sanctity of his views cannot be tolerated.

“What makes me even angrier about Mr McVicar’s savage attack on a fine police commissioner is that Mr McVicar is a hypocrite,” Clayton Cosgrove said. “He wrote a testimonial that helped former ACT MP David Garrett escape a conviction and get permanent name suppression for stealing a baby’s identity.

“Mr McVicar stood by his mate David Garrett no matter the impact on the dead baby’s family, including a 93-year-old woman. They were all gagged by the sort of suppression order that Mr McVicar and ACT are supposed to oppose.

“Mr McVicar has lost any moral right to speak on behalf of victims. He certainly can’t hold a candle to Mr Broad’s record of bringing criminals to justice. Mr Broad earned his appointment on his record. He has performed the role admirably, and any advice he gives out of his wide experience deserves to be heeded.”

ENDS

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