So we are writing this open letter to Michael Heron in the hope that his office will review the process behind the sentencing of Jack Alexander Booker in the North Shore District Court yesterday:
Dear Mr Heron
I am writing to you to urge your office to review proceedings against Jack Alexander Booker in the North Shore District Court. Booker was yesterday sentenced to 12 months home detention, and according to this morning's New Zealand Herald, the Crown does not intend to appeal the non-custodial sentence.
Booker's offending against his daughter began when she was just one month old. Judge Nevin Dawson described the offending as "abhorrent" and "cruel". However he gave Booker credit for an early guilty plea, his remorse, and his seeking assistance to deal with his issues with anger and violence.
This case has strong parallels with that of James Hall, sentenced to home detention by Justice Mary Peters in the Napier High Court. This sentence was subsequently set aside on appeal by the Crown to the Court of Appeal, and a sentence of imprisonment was imposed. The Court of Appeal determined that the sentence imposed by Justice Peters was manifestly inadequate.
I urge your office to strongly consider an appeal against the sentence imposed on Jack Booker by Judge Dawson. He has undoubtedly followed the provisions available to him under the Sentencing Act 2002, but even as a non-lawyer, I believe that this sentence too is manifestly inadequate, and that Judge Dawson has given far too much weight to the rights of Booker, and far too little weight to the rights of both the victim and her mother.
Child abuse is never OK. Surely it is the responsibility of the Judiciary to reinforce that through sentences which are likely to have a deterrent effect. The sentence imposed on Jack Booker is in no way a deterrent to future child abusers.
Please give this case your urgent and serious consideration
We invite all readers to copy this letter. We do not have a direct e-mail address for Michael Heron (can anyone oblige?), so have sent the letter by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please; circulate this letter to friends and work colleagues. If enough people express their opinion to Crown Law, it may well result in a decision to appeal the sentence imposed on Booker.
This is not a personal attack on Jack Booker. Rather, it is an attempt to redress the imbalance that seems to exist in sentencing; Booker just happens to be the latest person to have received what we consider to be a manifestly inadequate sentence.
Let's use People Power to achieve justice for the victims of child abuse!