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Good Dad jailed under Clark's family values policy

Good Dad jailed under Helen Clark's family values policy

The Mild Greens are disgusted that a Christchurch District Court Judge has sentenced a solo father to eight months jail for possession of several ounces of low grade cannabis, presumed to be for supply.

Although described in his probation report as "not a bad man, and well thought of in his job as a butcher", Stephen William Leach is being jailed because, according to crown prosecutor Stuart Poore, deterrence is the over-riding principle in the case and a custodial sentence is needed.

Under "family values" criminalisation policy, bullying discrimination continues in the NZ community against people who would no longer be criminals if Parliament would only finish its 2yr 3mth(.....) cannabis law review, and account for the vast injustices and unintended consequences of prohibition.

Harm Minimisation, purported Government National drug policy, has still yet to acknowledge, measure and mitigate the harms and costs of criminalisation, despite Ministry of Health concern and recommended scrutiny (cost-benefit analysis) now dating back at least 7 years.

While law and order, drugs, youth alienation and crime etc, masquerade as issues of concern for politicians, it is rare to find an MP or journalist who can see the connections between criminalisation and criminality (and between injustice and alienation). Even the Green Party seem to strangely avoid this glaring aspect of the holistic analysis.

New Zealanders may be appalled at perceived human rights abuses around the world, in Palestine, Zimbabwe, China and Chechnya, but Kiwis are largely silent about the drug user apartheid which is the bread and butter of our own (in)justice system - and at the heart of division and dysfunction in our community.

Courts, Prisons, Police, Lawyers, Social Services, Probation and Judiciary etc are beneficiaries of the unwarranted criminalisation of all illicit drug users, but cannabis users in particular. With this arbitrarily outlawed demograph comprising 16% of the surveyed population, an inexhaustible supply of court fodder is provided, directly comprising some 20,000 victims per year.

But while administrators of community abuse should be held accountable for massive fraud and grievous sociological harm, instead they are propping up the prejudice and protecting each other's taxpayer grift. Parliament administers the bad law - the Justice system enforces it - while the legacy of criminalisation ensures that bad outcomes feed the community concern/prejudice that mandates the hypocritical status quo.

And MP's are elected again and again thanks to their "get tough/family values" rhetoric - while truly decent community leaders (are there any??) are intimidated into letting it happen, as long as it's someone else's family who goes to jail - or goes off the rails and commits some incomprehensible crime.

Prohibition has all but extinguished the flame of social justice in NZ.

Recently the Law and Order Select Committee accused the Mild Greens of abusing politicians because they have not linked prohibition to NZ's law and order problems (boy racers being "those people" in that instance). Yet Parliament continues to overlook the glaring anomaly of "double standards" surrounding cannabis as highlighted by the Health Select Committee Inquiry into the mental health effects of cannabis 1998.

Let's put this in context: A parliamentary committee unanimously finds that existing policy is "BAD". Four years on, even with select committee member Annette King now as Minister of Health, "BAD" policy is still the order of the day, and perhaps one billion dollars has been directly misappropriated into "BAD" policy during this time, presumably as a best practice health intervention. How sick is that?

How on earth is it that Judges like Stephen Erber, and crown prosecutors such as Stuart Poore are unaware that the Health Select Committee in 1998/99 all but exonerated cannabis, and TWICE recommended review of the appropriateness of existing policy, and reconsideration of the legal status?

Why have these beneficiaries of apartheid not been restrained? Not one public servant is prepared to blow the whistle on this "systemic corruption" it seems.

"Fix what's broken, repeal the illegitimate cannabis law", say the Mild Greens, echoing the sentiment of virtually all submitters to the Health Select Committee during its cannabis hearings up and down the country in 2001.

But, without so much as a debate, let alone a conscience vote (or select committee report), Helen Clark's Labour party have allowed the corrupt systemic criminalisation practices to continue.

Despite the "Christian" United Future coalition support deal to block cannabis reform, there is nothing Christian about the obscene reality of criminalisation policy. Jesus would turn in his tomb if he knew that self-declared Christians were abusing their brothers in his name - and over God's good seed bearing herb of all things.

While granting 3 weeks leave to apply for *home detention, Judge Stephen Erber stated to the defendant "It will do you no harm at all to serve some term of actual jail" - however (not withstanding the criminal duress), the Mild Greens ask what damage will be done to the family if this man goes to jail, and what will be the real cost to individuals and the community?

What precautions, for example, are being taken to ensure that the defendant's son is not prejudiced by the absence of his Dad? Will he slip into the now familiar "at risk youth" category as an unintended consequence of the overriding principle of deterrence?

It's sending a strong message which is important after all… If taking a tough stance on marijuana saves just one kid then it will all have been worth it…

Welcome to NZ, God's last bastion of truth, freedom, tolerance, justice, robust harm minimisation policy, and wholesome, decent, family values - and more jails.

*Source: Christchurch PRESS 26th Oct 2002

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