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Dear Court of Appeal: Are you kidding?

Dear Court of Appeal: Are you kidding?

Justice Simon France of the Court of Appeal may want to try and explain this one... and perhaps consider a new career as an advocate for violent offenders while he’s at it...

Christopher Story attended a part in Hornby, suburban Christchurch. He stole a pot plant from a neighbouring property. The owners heard him and the husband confronted him while his wife phoned police. Story then attacked and stabbed both the husband and wife on their own property. The wife was stabbed 6 times and was lucky not to be killed. The husband was stabbed through the shoulder and ended up off work for five weeks. The attack only ended when the couple’s 19 year old son hit Story in the head with a pot plant.

For this horrific crime that has had devastating impacts on his victims Story was sentenced to 6 years and 9 months jail time and was ordered to pay the two victims that he stabbed $5,000 each, the son was not awarded anything, presumably because he was not stabbed. At any rate, not excessive you’d imagine for the serious nature of the violent attack. As an aside Story will be out in much less - probably around 4 years.

Flash forward to this week and Story is appealing his sentence in the Court of Appeal. Justice Simon Farce thought that $5,000 was too much for poor violent offender Story. He slashed the court ordered reparation to a paltry $500, a tenth of what the original order was. And that paltry $500 is to be paid back at just $10 a week. What a joke. No really. You are hilarious Justice France. It’s just that no-one is laughing. Your average law-abiding Kiwi thinks that judgements like yours are a blatant display of incompetence and so out of touch with reality as to be a kick-in-the-guts. Your pandering to violent criminals like Story undermines the expectations of a justice system that works for, and not against, law abiding New Zealander’s. At the same time it sends a clear message to the lower courts: take it easy on the Story’s of this world or we will – after all, they’ve had a tough life...

Never mind the victim Justice France. Don’t worry about justice for them. Never mind that they struggle to sleep at night and no longer feel safe in their own home. Perhaps put yourself in their shoes and see if you’d want that reparation slashed by 90%. What’s that – you wouldn’t?

All that remains in this epic fail of justice at the hands of Justice France is the hope that the crown will appeal to the Supreme Court and that some common-sense is found and this farcical ruling is over-turned. I for one hold little hope of such an outcome. I only hope that perhaps, this time, I may be proven wrong.

New Zealand once was, and can be again, one of the safest countries in the world if we have the will and determination to stand up against crime and refuse to accept it as a part of our lives. We all have a right to be safe within our own homes, streets, and communities. We will continue to fight for that right and advocate for a tough stance to be taken against those who would have those rights taken away from us.

--

Sensible Sentencing Trust
Wellington Region


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