Thank the little baby Jesus that 3rd Degree is finally doing some scorching. Other than Campbell Live! NZ has bugger all current affairs worthy of the name. The hopes that 3rd Degree could lift the threshold were dashed last week with an awful debut show that was as palatable as room temperature urine.
It looked like 3rd degree would be about as scorching as a Norwegian winter, but that changed last night with their story on Teina Pora and the way the NZ Police framed him for a crime he simply didn’t commit.
Paula Penfold brilliantly picks up from where NZ Herald journalist Phil Taylor has been working on this glaring abhorrence of injustice.
While I don’t agree often with Guyon Espiner and Duncan Garner’s political take on any issue, there’s no doubt that they are two of television Journalism’s heavy weights. What I’ve always disliked is that they use that considerable talent to prop up and defend the establishment, where they gain my interest and respect is when they turn those skills to defend the under dog, and there can’t be much more of an under dog than Teina Pora.
Watching the NZ Cops set up this poor brown kid with paid off testimony for a rape and murder he clearly didn’t commit to serve a 20 year lag is just a reminder of how out of control our Police force is. This revelation might be a surprise to some NZers who have been conditioned by authority porn reality TV that always shows the Police in the most pristine, uncritical light, but questioning Police power is the responsibility of every citizen and it’s a responsibility many NZers are not living up to.
Let’s be clear – the Police actively framed Teina. This isn’t just a mistake and poor defense, they actively framed him.
How many other Teina Pora’s have the NZ Police locked up for crimes they never committed? We desperately need some type of ongoing innocence project in NZ as the final check and balance to a judicial system that is questionably functioning.
It’s a pity that most media weren’t as critical of this injustice when it happened.
If you are young, brown and poor, you are an easy target for NZ Police manipulation. Our culture’s weird authority worship is a disservice to our society and we have committed a terrible disservice to Teina and the family of Susan Burdett.
Let’s hope the NZ Police receive the contempt they deserve over this appalling miscarriage of justice and may we all take a long hard look at the entrenched racism of our justice system.