We shouldn’t begrudge lenient sentences against 4 pakeha teens



We should not be outraged that 4 pakeha teenagers were given a lenient sentence, we should be outraged that leniency isn’t handed out to every teenager.

Teen brains have not developed frontal lobes where decision making and consequnces of actions are reasoned out so demanding from them a level of adult culpability that they are biologically unable to live up to seems akin to demanding table manners from infants.

It should concern us though that so many young Maori and Pacific Islanders believe the justice system is biased against them, not because that’s a false impression, but because sadly it is far too often the truth.


  1. Absolutely pointless sending these ‘kids’ to prison. Making them work and pay back is the right way to do it for all young people and many who are currently clogging up the prisons. But I would wonder whether in fact they were brown and without pushy parents would they have got this ‘lenient’ treatment, I suspect not.

  2. agreed…as long as they pay back those they have offended against…jail is no solution for this sort of crime

    kids , no matter what race, do stupid things!

  3. I agree with the argument here but ask why, if youths have undeveloped brains, you also advocate lowering the voting age to 16?.

    • because they need their brains developed?….and it offers them a chance at responsible decision making…it sets in place the structure and habit of voting in the future

      …believe it or not , it is quite a rigmarole to get a kid on the voting circuit and get them into the habit of voting

      …much better if they learned to do it at school and were enrolled while at school…as a part of a social studies or civics course

  4. I can think of a few adults that don’t seem to have developed frontal lobes; I wouldn’t give those ones lenient sentences though 😉
    (starting with the wollies in government!)

    I can’t help but agree that if they were brown they’d have been given harsher penalties; it is very sad. I hope that they are able to grow from their experiences, not spiral. Separate them, and send them to places to develop peace, and reflection, and spend time in genuine community with no distractions; get them spending time with real role models – should be policy for any age-group!

    We use “community service” as a penalty, when really we should all be engaged in community service, and to not do-so should be considered an aberration!

  5. Missing from this piece – how many of these kids have already got a list of convictions for, say, assault and other ‘heavy end’ crimes? Did they trash the places they stole from? Have they been well-known to the police and other agencies since they were at primary school or intermediate?

    I don’t know.

    The sentence seems within their capacity: – home detention and working to pay restoration.

    Would that really be a fair sentence if they weren’t pink people? When you can easily see how many similarly gormless teens and twenties make no attempt to pay back for their boyish/girlish pranks, and the family embarrassment for the stupidity of the ‘babies’ and the ‘bubblies’ is far less than their outrage and indignation that they’ve been caught.

    However, when we do know, perhaps we can then compare kiwifruit with kiwifruit.

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