Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The dilemma of rights; whose are more important?

The Parole Board has today announced that reluctantly, Stewart Murray Wilson, the Beast of Blenheim will be released from prison in September; the Herald reports:

Notorious rapist Stewart Murray Wilson is set to be released from jail on September 1, despite Parole Board fears he will reoffend immediately.
Wilson, known as the 'Beast of Blenheim', was jailed for 21 years in 1996 for gross sexual offending over a 25-year period.
His offences included rape, stupefaction, indecent assaults, bestiality and willful ill-treatment of a child.
Under previous legislation, he must be released on September 1 after serving two-thirds of his sentence.
A Parole Board report into his case released this afternoon denied him parole for an eighth and final time.
It said Wilson had never taken responsibility for his actions and would reoffend as soon as possible.
The decision says Wilson had refused to participate in the preparation of a parole assessment report, refusing to provide any information about his release proposals other than that he was working with the prisoners aid and rehabilitation trust to find accommodation.
He also refused to indicate in what part of the country he intended to reside.
"The report also referred to Mr Wilson's continued denial of responsibility for his offending and his refusal to engage in any programmes which could assist him in addressing his offending and assisting with his reintegration,''the decision says.
"The tenor of the report makes it clear that Mr Wilson has been positively obstructive of efforts to help him and that this has been his attitude throughout.''
The board said Wilson remained a risk to society because of his ability to avoid detection, his complete denial of responsibility for his offending and his unwillingness to participate in any treatment programmes.
"We think particularly ominous his comment reported by (Withheld) when he was asked about contact with children under the age of 16, saying 'I don't give a stuff about that'."
A Parole Board spokeswoman said the board had been clear the danger Wilson posed for many years.
However, it was restrained by legislation and could not keep him in prison past his release date on September 1, she said.

Wilson is one of New Zealand's worst sexual predators, and the Parole Board is right to signal its concern as to the likely outcome of his release from custody later in the year. Of course, the Parole Board now has no discretion whatsoever; Wilson is entitled by law to be released.

The government has signalled its intention to enact legislation to protect the public from offenders such as Wilson, and we support that initiative, Had Wilson been (or been able to be) sentenced to Preventative Detention from the outset, this would not be an issue, and the Parole Board's grave concerns would see him remain behind bars indefinitely.

Doubtless the civil libertarians will be jumping on this case, suggesting that Wilson's rights are being violated. We are crystal-clear on this; if "rights" are going to be infringed, we would far rather that they were Stewart Murray Wilson's rights, and not those of his next victim.

Do you agree?


Pdubyah said...

The whole story leaves an unpaletable taste in the mouth.

From the type of offending, to the strange 2/3rd's and you're out clause in a sentance. I'm sure that this was enacted in good faith, but has come home to roost in this scenario. I've no idea what the 2/3rd rule was supposed to address.

That the parole board can't ilicit a response as to where, when, why or how Stewart Murray Wilson will spend his freee time should only raise your eyebrow not your concern.

I'm sure the parole board are well meaning, and there no dounbt are a swarm of busy-body types surrounding them who think that they are helping rehabilitate and reintergrate people.

Stewart Murray Wilson may be reformed for all you know, hours of sitting in contemplation may have changed him.

What will be obvious though that hounding and tracking his every movement isn't going to make any reintegration any better.

As for not being able to do anything, well for one moment I can imagine where there is cause forsome action to be taken. Prevention is better than a cure, and it's regretable that we (society) have structured the "power" to be toothless when it comes to an instance like this.

However it's not public opinion that should keep someone in jail, he's served, as required, his time and segregation. As unpaletable and as uncomfotable as that makes me and many other feel.

Forbid that there are any other offences to be commited by Stewart Murray Wilson. We can hope, possibly forlornly.

Nostalgia-NZ said...

'The government plans to push through new civil detention legislation within the next few months to keep high-risk offenders in prison beyond the end of their sentence, which may keep Wilson behind bars.

Meanwhile, the Probation Service has applied to the High Court for Wilson to be put on an extended supervision order that would allow him to be closely monitored for up to a decade beyond 2015.

For the first year of the extended order, Wilson could be monitored by a guard 24 hours a day and he could be sent back to prison if he breaches the supervision order.'

Why do we need new legislation when this option to the High Court is available.

Nick K said...

Do you mean the right to be released from prison when your sentence is complete? That's a pretty fundamental right IMHO. In fact, it's probably the most egregious breach of the law the state could ever do if that happened. Regrettably, we just have to suck this one up.

We should have a blog campaign: Have you seen Stewart Wilson? I think we should let the country know where he is living. Better the devil you know that the devil you don't.