Please don’t allow another badly beaten child to become a knee jerk against civil rights. Again.  

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The unblinking eye of the Police State, always on the look out for a new way to erode civil liberties.

Family not telling police ‘crucial’ details after boy critically injured in Hawke’s Bay

It’s an all too familiar story in New Zealand. 

A child is injured or killed in his home. Too many family members are present in the home for someone not to know something.

Yet nobody tells the police anything.

The case drags on, information withheld, the community and authorities becoming increasingly frustrated. 

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Anger has reached boiling point in Flaxmere with many people taking to social media to abuse a family. 

In January, police found a 4-year-old boy on Ramsey Cres with injuries covering his entire body. He also suffered a head injury that had caused significant brain damage.

If the boy, who is currently at Auckland’s Starship Hospital, survives, he is expected to be disabled. 

Detective Inspector Mike Foster later described the boy’s injuries as among the most severe he has seen in his 30 years of policing.

At the time he was injured, the boy was being cared for by his extended family, with other children also present.

But despite the many potential witnesses, police still do not know what happened to the boy.

On Wednesday, during an interview on RNZ’s Morning Report, Foster let his frustration show.

“We’re speaking with the family, there’s a lot there that we know we’re not being told because this child had some very obvious injuries and we simply don’t know how that happened.

“We’ve spoken with them (the child’s parents), it’s the information that’s crucial to us that we don’t believe we’re getting.”

We should all be angry.

Another beautiful little child beaten by those who should have protected him.

It is beyond the capacity of most of us to even raise our hand to a child, let along conduct a beating so severe it shocks the Police.

What kind of animal would abuse another human being in this manner? Let alone a child?

We all want justice for this little boy, we all need to know that the person or persons who conducted such violence are punished and removed from the possibility of doing this again.

To feel otherwise would be not human.

BUT.

We must temper such anger with a deep respect for civil rights.

It is disgraceful that family members are not being honest with the Police, it is disgusting that they would protect the family member or members who committed this terrible crime, but good Policing is required here, not the sudden erosion of your legal right to silence.

I was always deeply skeptical of the SFO gaining the power to compel evidence, we were sold this power as a necessity we were told to stop terrorists and organised crime from using financial trusts to hide criminality.

Watch the ease with which the Police Association reference that SFO power and immediately leverage it as a reason to erode one of the fundamental legal protections we have…

The right to silence has been a long and important part of the country’s legal and justice system but there were exceptions to it in Serious Fraud Office cases, he said.

“Why would you not consider exceptions for serious violence, sexual offending or murder offences possibly which we would argue could be more serious in relation to outcomes for victims?”

…The unblinking eye of the Police State is always on the look out for a new way to erode civil liberties. Using our anger at the stonewalling tactics of family who are involved in an egregious crime against a child to suggest eroding one of the most important legal rights we have should be seen for the contemptuous manipulation it is.

Please don’t allow another badly beaten brown child to become a knee jerk against civil rights. We all lose when we erode our civil rights, no matter the justification.

32 COMMENTS

  1. We all lose when we erode our civil rights,

    When it is a question of Rights of the Child vs “civil rights”, which it is, I am on the side of the child.

    (Some more angry thoughts deleted.)

  2. Martyn, I am asking you, and anyone else out there who has a small child, to please, please try and think/ feel your way through this question as honestly as you possibly can!!!

    IF that was this child of yours, this exact child, who had somehow gotten left in that household for a day or so and then this happened to her (or to him),

    would you still be begging for those “civil rights’ to be upheld at all costs????

    Can you (anyone) even give and honest answer?

    I would really like to know.

    • Comrade – you make some of the best comments on this Blog and I always find your passion and intellectual strength to be deeply reassuring that there is someone like you out there.

      You are completely right in demanding justice, and I hear and feel your passion. BUT, if we are to allow a legal right like the right to silence to be broken now, what are the ramifications of that to the wider system?

      • I see it as a form of terrorism. By ‘it’ I mean the sadistic abuse and the subsequent cover-ups, by everyone who entered that house for the previous week (I’d have the whole friggin lot arrested immediately “on suspicion”, and only let them go once they’d proven they were entirely unaware). As terrorism, a different approach is needed, outside of and beyond normal civil laws. What happened is NOT normal – It is not my normal!

        • Yes, I would uphold the rights of others even if I did know which set of rights to use.

          We impose a vow of silence when there is nothing good to say. Even the neoliberal police state understands that coercion and torturing the truth out into the open will not save our sole.

          In our own special way we each constructed a little bit to this absurd theatre that demonstrates to the world that we take the rights of children seriously until that is tax payer money has to be diverted to reducing poverty and then the farcical public relations efforts come all come out.

          It’s farcical when it’s considered as a virtual replay of every child who’ve been brutally murdered and then state ministries have to show how much suffering there is that will benefit from increased security measures.

          Understand this that the state is dedicated to the fixed idea that life is an ugly and horrific one and that the vow of silence pursues a peaceful one.

    • Kheala: “would you still be begging for those “civil rights’ to be upheld at all costs????”

      My guess is that, were that child one of ours, our support for the perpetrator’s civil rights would have evaporated pronto.

      I agree with your comment and with all of your other comments here on this thread.

      The levels of family violence in NZ are simply appalling. Nothing at all can be said in mitigation. It is the great shame of this country.

  3. Have a look at this photo – these children’s faces – All Kiwi kids who never had the option of growing to adulthood, as the result of someone’s cruelty and the rest of the population turning away. Stuff Give them a Voice

    Just take a look. (That is from 2015 – Have not yet found a more recent one.)

  4. My personal recommendation is for every single person (I’m guessing an adult) who starts crying for their “civil rights” to be protected in such situations, to first go and actually visit one of those damage children, and maybe try explaining your argument to that tiny person. OK???

    And then get out there on the ground and try one month or so of voluntarily fronting up with the ambulance guys when you have to clean the blood off the floor as you pick up the next child.

    Then and only then can your “civil rights” call claim any weight whatsoever.

    • Kheala. Thanks. For the first 50 years of my life I experienced flashbacks of lying in bed listening to my brother screaming as he is thrashed naked with black electric cable by my father. My biggest childhood memory is of fear. Both my parents were violent, but we were a white professional family adept at keeping up appearances. There were no drugs or alcohol involved – and not a lot of money. I know now that some of us were subject to more violence than others.

      My mother’s violence was more structured than my father’s. Should she decide I’d done something, she strapped me until I admitted it. Generally I’d admit to anything by the sixth cut of the strap, and was then punished further for not owning up sooner – a lose-lose situation. For “bad” things, it was pants down bent over a chair, and strapped on a bare bottom where marks didn’t show. We were good children, just – some of us – were unliked and unwanted. As a quiet child I was assumed thick, and my mother devoted much of her life to proving this, until she finally went off her rocker.

      I have no idea what it is like to have a kind parent who gives hugs and cuddles and makes eye contact, but looking back at that little girl who was me, I think it could have been rather nice, and given me a more optimum life outcome, but I know I’ve done quite well. But when I did do well eg topped the class, it was due to being sneaky and fooling people – she couldn’t compute it.

      I was saved by getting good marks in UE enabling me to get away from home to university, the only escape I knew; by this time my mother did not speak to me except to give orders; she wanted me to leave school at 15, get a job, stay at home, help support the family. I would have killed myself. I was just turned 18 the last time she strapped me – school dux. I laugh about it now.

      As an undergrad I once got a high mark for an essay on John Donne, with a tutor’s note asking me to see him and discuss a new theory I had apparently raised about Donne’s poetry. I was flabbergasted, thought it must be a mistake, and thenceforth skipped all his tutorials. A couple of years ago I thought, maybe I did, after all, develop a new theory about Donne, who knows ?

      I now know that there is a link between growing up in a violent family, and subsequently marrying a violent abusive male. About 10 years ago, I began waking sitting bolt upright in terror, and got referred for cognitive therapy. The psychologist told me that most people who have experienced what I did grow up to be drug addicts, alcoholics, criminals, or prostitutes. She also agreed with me that until Pakeha women start coming out of the closet about domestic violence, it will continue to be stereotyped as a Maori-Pacifica issue, which it most certainly isn’t.

      Various work done in Law depts and Women’s Studies depts shows that the dark underbelly of abuse in this country is not confined to any particular ethnic group; I’ve made a point of asking battered white women if they come from violent homes, and whether they were bullied at school, and all bar one – who only had the school bullying – grew up with childhood violence.

      Currently-pilloried Bob Jones has long been a financial supporter of the NZ Women’s Refuge, but it suits the men in suits who still largely wield power in this country to try and depict all violence in the home as a non-Pakeha issue, when many of them are themselves brutes and bullies – and this isn’t the forum to address that.

      You rightly comment on the ambulance people dealing with bloody messes – so do the police; the stats are
      sobering and shocking. Sheeting everything onto poverty or Maori or single mothers does nothing to help the children, but grown-ups closing ranks to protect each other is both disgusting and commonplace, and leaves them free to continue doing damage to those most in need of society’s protection. To hell with their civil rights – they don’t do civil, and their actions abrogate such rights.

      Teachers are pretty good at picking up when things aren’t OK for kids, and other children often suss things out too, but the 1-2-3 and 4 year olds miss out here, so current suggestion that all New Zealand children have tabs kept on them from birth, may offend some adults, but that’s much better than littlies living hellish damaging and miserable lives.

      Could be cost effective too.

      • Pip: that was a hard read. Thanks for posting it.

        I was born very soon after WW2, went to school during the 50s and 60s.

        We were middle class, but lived in a pakeha working class area, because my family had fallen on hard times. Physical discipline was ubiquitous in that environment; there would be talk of “getting a hiding” for misdemeanours. Some of the children I knew went in terror of their fathers. Those men were mostly returned servicemen, damaged to varying degrees by their wartime experience, prone to sudden explosive outbursts of rage. I saw it happen sometimes, and it frightened the hell out of me.

        I was among the youngest members of a large family. My late father died just before my 5th birthday. My late mother, God bless her, did her best by us all. We were loved and cared-for, supported in our endeavours, academic or otherwise. She kept a leather strap, though it was used rarely, and not on me (at about age 3, I apparently said to my parents, “you didn’t have to hit me, just tell me I shouldn’t do it and I won’t”. She said that she realised then that smacking wasn’t necessary to discipline me.) That incident is illustrative of an important point about the sheer pointlessness of hitting kids: the younger children are, the less likely they are to know what they did wrong.

        I subsequently found out that an older sibling had been frightened of our father, because he also was prone to rages and belting the shit out of them. Using that strap, no doubt. It wasn’t the war for him: my mother described him as being mercurial. Maybe now we’d characterise it as “bi-polar”? I don’t know.

        “….the dark underbelly of abuse in this country is not confined to any particular ethnic group…”

        I completely agree. I saw some of that in my childhood. In fairness to the parents of my childhood friends, schoolmates and neighbours, and setting aside war damage, many simply repeated the discipline they themselves had had as children. Where there was egregious cruelty, I wonder about mental health issues, or psychopathy.

        “Sheeting everything onto poverty or Maori or single mothers does nothing to help the children…”

        I agree with this as well. Some people do adduce such factors, as if they’re denying the parents’ agency. People choose how to behave, and to treat their children. Being poor, Maori or a single mother doesn’t mean that such people are destined to abuse their kids.

        “….but grown-ups closing ranks to protect each other is both disgusting and commonplace…”

        And it’s been a distressing feature of some cases over the years since 1990, when more extensive reporting began. I remarked to David Stone elsewhere on this thread that it looks like the Mafia concept of omertà. It’s utterly unforgivable: who’d have thought we’d see that sort of behaviour here!

        It’s true that many NZers see child abuse as a Maori problem. There’s a comment here, saying as much. If you read through the list Kheala posted on this thread – “the 24 year snapshot, from 1990 to 2014, of children who died here in AO/ NZ as a result of family violence.” – and note how many of them were Maori, it’s easy to see why people have that impression.

        I’d add that, in my childhood, nobody I knew was beaten to death, even if their fathers were violent. And that’s the stark difference between then and the contemporary situation which Kheala’s snapshot list so graphically illustrates.

  5. Justice for children who are tortured like this and in some cases killed must be paramount.

    I don’t care who it is but as i have said in the past the current laws are not severe enough too deal with crimes against all children and that the crimes act should reflect their inability too protect themselves against violence and sexual exploitation and if the family who lived in the home won’t cooperate should be detained until they do.

    A mandatory sentence of 30 years with out parole should be enforced for these crimes against children under the age of 16.

    No child should be exposed too these forms of severe violence and we need too send the message that if you harm any child or subvert the course of justice by not cooperating with a criminal investigation then you are just as culpable as the animal or animals who carried out the abuse.

    • Kheala: “This is a 24 year snapshot…”

      I remember most of those children. The most vivid still is Delcelia Witika, poor wee scrap. And that’s because at the time, I had a child of a similar age. I couldn’t bring myself to read the awful details of her agonising death; nor could I watch the documentary made about her. I spoke to other parents who felt similarly.

  6. The right to silence seems to be used as a criminal’s way to escape — why is it regarded by legal people as so sacrosanct?

    And when it is used as egregiously as in the case under discussion, there’s a fair chance that public outrage will lead to the same consequence as due to the lawyer who so abominably defended Sophie Elliott’s murderer: provocation removed as a defence.

    A brain-damaged child has lost its future — no mercy for perpetrators. That list put up by Kheala is an utterly appalling indictment.

    • David Stone: “Surely it is obvious that ratting on the perpetrator of this assault will not be survivable.”

      It looks that way, doesn’t it? Omertà, as the cosa nostra would have it, perhaps.

      This is very far from being the only case in the last 30-ish years, in which the family has closed ranks and refused to talk.

      I daresay that the risk of being offed for talking to the cops is a pretty powerful motivator. If that’s what applies here.

  7. Child abuse is a Maori problem.

    Until society is prepared to stop pretending and to admit to itself that CHILD ABUSE IS A MAORI PROBLEM it cannot be solved.

    The current situation in NZ is analogous to the Pakistani grooming gangs in Rotherham and other northern English towns: all of you leftwing bedwetters are sacrificing children upon the altar of political correctness.

    • Well not only a Maori problem as their endemic partner beating and child abuse ultimately affects us all. But yep a scary soft dick pathetic excuse for a male in so many of these cases.

    • Boris K is a moron!
      Coming up with a simplistic ‘anecdotal’ premise from racist mainstream media … kinda says youre a dick.

      • DennyPaoa: “Boris K is a moron!”

        Flinging insults isn’t helpful. Make a counter-argument, if you have one.

        “Coming up with a simplistic ‘anecdotal’ premise from racist mainstream media … kinda says youre a dick.”

        Nope. Neither so-called “racist”, nor, as it happens, anecdotal (or a dick). The statistics are there for all to see. We all know them well.

        Have a look at Kheala’s comment up above, which says “This is a 24 year snapshot, from 1990 to 2014…” and provides a link. Read through that link: note the number of children who are Maori.

        • I think it does. It sums up the mentality of the moron. No need to intellectualise him and give him the sense that it maybe praise, as it may be misconstrued as a compliment.

          You just never know with dumbfucks.

          • Well yknow as soon as a non-maari wana have ago at maari it’s always about the numbers and not much racist ideology. That’s just structural racism because these noodle on my ding dong because they think maari are fucking stupid.

            So violence against children and child murders overwhelmingly occur in poorer areas and child violence happen far less as people get wealthier.

            So if you want to be racist while convincing people that it’s about the numbers you say look, the numbers say overwhelmingly it’s a maari so that what racists have done to keep maori down for decades can be ignored.

    • Boris K, look at the photos of child victims of domestic violence that Kheala posted. Many of them are Pakeha (non-Maori, not indigenous). Early European setters observed that Maori children were never punished. Any inappropriate behaviour was the responsibility of the adults caring for them. Punishment of children came with colonisation.

      • Janio: “Boris K, look at the photos of child victims of domestic violence that Kheala posted. Many of them are Pakeha….”

        True enough. But it’s also true that they are disproportionately Maori. Take a look at the link in Kheala’s comment above, beginning “This is a 24 year snapshot…” Note how many of them are Maori.

        “Early European setters observed that Maori children were never punished.”

        Yeah, I’ve read accounts of missionaries’ observations. I’ve also read other accounts which pointed out that, while Maori treated the children of their own tribe well, they would kidnap and kill the children of other tribes during conflicts.

        Even were that not so, it would be disingenuous for contemporary Maori to blame colonisation for other Maoris’ egregious abuse of their children. People know that child abuse is always wrong.

    • Boris does that mean paedophilia is a pakeha problem or is it a church/priest problem and now its seems to be a sir/knighthood problem. I am not making excuses for these scum but when you throw stones watch out for rocks to come flying back at you. You need to say the word ‘some Maori’ as there is good and bad in all peoples you are blaming all us Maori please knock it on the head.

    • Boris Klarkov: “Child abuse is a Maori problem.”

      My impression is that a significant proportion of non-Maori thinks the same thing. Not surprisingly, given the awful statistics. OT is obliged to uplift – what is it? – five times as many Maori as non-Maori infants. Something like that.

      But to characterise child abuse as a Maori problem, meaning something inherent in the way Maori parent their children, is inaccurate. Not all Maori are abusive parents; not all Maori have their children removed by OT.

      Family violence and child abuse are exacerbated by poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, and the mental health problems consequent upon it. Maori are overrepresented among the very poorest, and those afflicted by drug and alcohol abuse.

      However. Not all poor people abuse their kids, and not all people who abuse their kids are poor. Or Maori.

      “Until society is prepared to stop pretending and to admit to itself that CHILD ABUSE IS A MAORI PROBLEM it cannot be solved.”

      I think you’re partly right. As a society, we need to be honest with ourselves about why OT works the way it does. Moreover, Maori society must be clear-eyed about the dreadful abuse of Maori babies and children. It’s really important to face up to this, and to the factors driving it: poverty, drugs and alcohol, chaotic households, poor parenting practices. It isn’t the fault of pakeha, or of colonialism. Or that inaccurately used term racism.

      Fixing what ails that part of Maori society will be a long haul, but it can be done. But by-Maori for-Maori services, aside from being segregation (apartheid if it’s written into law), won’t help, because that’s not the problem. In any event, the staff of OT is already disproportionately Maori, I believe.

      “The current situation in NZ is analogous to the Pakistani grooming gangs in Rotherham and other northern English towns…”

      I understand what you’re saying here, I think. The approach by both justice and welfare is analogous: an unwillingness to face up to the factors driving the crimes committed against young girls by these gangs.

  8. Agree with Kheala, civil rights are hollow when the rights of a child are annihilated.

    What I heard on RNZ about family present when the little boy was beaten, differs from your version Bomber. RNZ reported that the child had been with the wider family and was returned to the nuclear family on the critical day. That suggested to me that the wider family were protecting him, but delivered him back to a bad situation. If I am right, it is sad that the family did not seek outside help.

    I agree that silence is not helpful and the perpetrator should be identified to protect other children. So arrest all those present at the time of the attack to encourage them to talk. There must be some frightened children who were in that household. They are now under protection. I wonder if any have said who they are frightened of. That would point the authorities in a particular direction.

    Boris Klarkov you are pointing your finger at Maori. Shame on you. What makes you an expert or are you just a bigot?

    • Boris is probably a right wing voter who wants to divert attention away from right wing politicians ,,,,,who help along ,,, or who have done nothing ,,,, to lower high rates of violence and abuse in NZ.

      Particularly our last ‘ dirty politics’ NAct Govt …. ” Judith and the Nats chose Dirty Politics over meaningful or real Alcohol reform ,,, which directly impacts in keeping violent crime ” stubbornly high” ,,,

      The following Quotes and information are from the sabotaged ‘Alcohol, Injuries and Violence- Policy Briefing Paper – Feedback Draft November, 2012’

      “Children, young people, Māori, Pacific Peoples and those living in more deprived neighbourhoods are among those that experience a disproportionate burden of harm from alcohol”

      ” The burden falls inequitably on those living in low socioeconomic areas,and Māori and Pacific people.}”

      “Harmful drinking patterns are particularly prevalent among men, young adults, Māori, Pacific people and those living in highly deprived communities. Alcohol related harms are also contributing to increasing health inequalities”

      “Each year thousands of New Zealanders are also harmed by other people’s drinking and many more are intimidated or made to feel unsafe in their environment. In their submission to the Law Commission,the District Court judges observed that intoxication was commonly a feature in cases coming before the Family Violence Courts. They have cited a recent survey of cases in the North Shore Family Violence List which revealed approximately 90 per cent of cases over a nine-month period involved alcohol.”

      “An association between high numbers of alcohol outlets, particularly in deprived communities, and
      increased rates of IPV has been demonstrated ,,, ” Intimate partner violence (IPV) -”

      When it comes to IWI / or Alcohol industry profits,,,, the Nacts back the money ,,, ”

      What do we call politicians who through their dirty political choices have resulted in THOUSANDS of extra violence and abuse victims ???.

      $uper predator$ ,,,,.

      Removing the right to silence is a red herring ,,, ‘forced statements’ would obviously be filled with ” I don’t know” ,” I did not see or hear” , ” it was not me ” … and if the state can prove otherwise then presumably it has information that can lead to charges ,,, Ditto if a person is making no comments.

      Most serious long going child abuse cases have multiple failings from multiple institutions that could have intervened earlier.,,,, ie there is a failure to use existing legislation / laws.

  9. The criminal justice system cannot fix a social problem. We go around and around with this every year but nobody has the guts to address the real cause.
    However, lots of researchers both in NZ and internationally have investigated this and the cause of the problem is quite clear:

    The structure of welfare allows, and maybe even encourages, solo women to have children and fathers to leave their families unsupported. Either way the results are fatherless boys and an endless string of thug boyfriends passing through.

    The logical steps are as follows

    Fatherless boy > Abused as a child > Fails in education> Joins a gang looking for male leadership > Commits crimes > Fathers a child> The cycle continues

    If the left *really* cared about the problem they would be talking about how to restructure welfare to discourage this. Get past your ideology and look or solutions!

    • If Andrew really “cared” about the problem he would be talking about ending corporate Welfare and all their tax dodges ,,,,, because the burden of supporting what the rich have opted out on falls on familys and the less well off in society.

      Andrew never has anything to offer the less well off in society ,,,, scratch the surface of what he is saying now and no doubt it is to cut welfare ,,,, especially to solo parents,,, his soloution would be to make things worse for the poor ,,, to make things better.

      He’s not alone ,,,,. Most of this thread is ‘ ambulance at the bottem of the cliff’ stuff ,,,,, with the non soloution and red herring about our criminal law….

      ….Stuff all about society fixes to make familys and children safer, more secure, and less stressed ,,, less abused.

      Ie ,,,, the “property market” is anti NZ familys ,,,, children living in cars is a form of abuse by the state ,,, where the poor pay a real price ,,, for the profits of speculators / investors. ,,,,,

      ie 2, ,,,, the Nact Government aborted Alcohol reform.

      etc etc etc

    • The DPB Andrew was introduced in the early 1970s primarily because drunk men were beating up on their wives. These were married couples and in those days women did not leave instead they tolerated the abuse for their childrens sake and through fear of being stigmatised.

  10. https://www.humanium.org/en/child-rights/
    https://www.unicef.org/child-rights-convention

    Children’s rights: human rights adapted to children

    “Children’s rights are human rights specifically adapted to the child because they take into account his fragility, specificities and age-appropriate needs.

    Children’s rights take into account the necessity of development of the child. The children thus have the right to live and to develop suitably physically and intellectually.

    Children’s rights plan to satisfy the essential needs for a good development of the child, such as the access to an appropriate alimentation, to necessary care, to education, etc.

    Children’s rights consider the vulnerable character of the child. They imply the necessity to protect them. It means to grant a particular assistance to them and to give a protection adapted to their age and to their degree of maturity.

    So, the children have to be helped and supported and must be protected against labour exploitation, kidnapping, and ill-treatment, etc.”

    A clear case on should think….. see the official reservations of the NZ government:

    “The Government of New Zealand considers that the rights of the child provided for in article 32 (1) are adequately protected by its existing law. It therefore reserves the right not to legislate further or to take additional measures as may be envisaged in article 32 (2).”
    https://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector-policy/constitutional-issues-and-human-rights/human-rights/international-human-rights/crc/

    As the NZ reality shows there is substantial space for legal improvement, application of law in practice, appropriate community engagement, and addressing socio-economic conditions in concerned families.

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