You wouldn't normally regard the Green Party and the Sensible Sentencing Trust as natural allies. Their support bases probably come from the opposite ends of the political spectrum, and their views on issues of crime and punishment would normally be poles apart. The case of The Comedian however has brought a wide range of people together.
Jan Logie is ranked #9 on the Green Party list, and on current polling, she is odds-on to take a seat in Parliament following the November election. Ms Logie has a long history of advocacy in issues of sexual abuse. And yesterday, she posted on her blog an open letter to Judge Phillippa Cunningham; it begins thus:
Dear Judge Cunningham,
I am writing to express my dismay and disquiet at your ruling last week.
My heart goes out to the partner and mother who did what we would all hope and expect a mother to do.
Our media in recent years has profiled more family cover ups of child abuse than cases like this. Having worked for women’s refuge in the past and supported a mother and child through the process of laying a complaint of child abuse I have seen first hand the fear and trauma involved in taking a case to court.
In this example the comedian concerned admitted his guilt and while this will certainly have made the process prior to your ruling easier for the family your ruling must have been absolutely devastating.
I am not a proponent of punishment for the sake of punishment but I do believe an essential part of justice is the acknowledgement of a crime and rehabilitation and or restitution.
Jan Logie's letter is well worthy a read in its entirety. And it has found support from within her party. Over at Frogblog, Frog republished the letter, together with his/her own comments; read on:
I’m normally pretty cautious about politicians criticising the judiciary, especially when it involves a determination of guilt or innocence. But here we have someone who pleaded guilty to a particularly exploitative and disgusting offence committed, while intoxicated, against a young child in his care, and appears to have successfully used his intoxication and his status in society as an excuse to avoid conviction.
I’m right with you Jan on this one.
There you have it. The outrage over this judicial decision is being expressed from right across the political spectrum. We hope that the Solicitor-General is taking notice of the debate, and that his office is giving the strongest consideration to appealing against the decision by Judge Cunningham to discharge The Comedian without conviction. At the very least, we believe that this decision needs to be tested by a higher Court.
We have no issue with the permanent name suppression; the victim and the complainant in this case have already suffered enough, and have a right to be protected; which is the whole motivation behind people's outrage in the first place.