Saturday, November 17, 2012

An open letter to Michael Heron

Lawyer Michael Heron has recently assumed the role of Solicitor-General, heading the Crown Law Office. CLO's website notes that "The Office administers the prosecution process in the criminal justice system, in particular, trials on indictment before juries."

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

Yours sincerely

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:

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!


Johnny said...


Johnny said...

format is

Jake Skipper said...


Lofty said...

Done with pleasure, and anticipation that it may actually be effective, but I ain't holding my breath

Monique G said...


Monique Angel said...

Yep firstname.lastname - this is the general format and no mail undeliverable message back yet.

Edward the Confessor said...

Nothing like a good does of right wing outrage is there people? Makes you feel all self-righteous. Who cares if you know nothing of the case and the reasoning behind the sentence? You still know better than those with vastly more experienced who have been closely involved and have all the facts.

Keeping Stock said...

Oh grow up Edward, and look at the chronology of the abuse. It started when the child was ONE MONTH old FFS, and the injuries were getting progressively more serious. Fortunately the mother intervened before Booker did a Loffley and ruptured an internal organ.

All I am asking is for Crown Law to review the case to ensure that proper sentencing procedures were followed by Judge Watson. On the face of it, the sentence imposed in no way fits the seriousness of the offending. If Michael Heron decides in his wisdom that an appeal is merited, that's fine. If he is satisfied that everything has been done by the book and that the qualities of justice and mercy have been dispensed in an even-handed way, that's fine too.

This isn't a Left/Right issue. Another baby has been seriously injured, and another young man has dodged jail. Right across the political spectrum there is outrage at this sentencing. Well; THIS rightie is doing something about it instead of just moaning and whingeing. All you can do is shoot the messenger.

Edward the Confessor said...

I'm not shooting the messenger, that's a lazy accusation. I'm saying you're trying to whip up outrage about a matter of which you know few of the details and your fellow outraged right wingers know even less (having got their information from you). You're acting like a child.