Friday, November 23, 2012

Who's a Jackass now Matt?

We blogged a couple of months ago about Matt-Dillon Shannon, convicted of setting fire to a "mate" at a party. Today Shannon has been give a reality check; Stuff reports:

A Hastings teenager who doused an acquaintance with petrol and set him alight at a party was this morning sentenced to three years in prison.
Matt-Dillion Shannon was sentenced in the High Court in Napier after a jury in found him guilty of intending to cause grievous bodily harm after a trial in September. He had earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with careless disregard.
The jury took four hours to reach a verdict after a two-and-a-half day trial.
Shannon, now 18, was celebrating his 17th birthday at a party in his house on August 12 last year.
Shortly after midnight he poured petrol over a 16-year-old and set him alight with a cigarette lighter as three others held the victim down.
The victim suffered severe burns to his back, neck and one side of his face. He stripped off his burning T-shirt and rode his bicycle home before being taken to hospital and the intensive care unit.
Shannon claimed to have been copying a stunt he had seen on a Jackass movie. 

Every action has a consequence, and Shannon has discovered that today. We have no sympathy whatsoever for him; his actions were quite simply stupid.

We hope however that this will be a learning experience. Prison is not a nice place, and Shannon will suddenly realise that when his cell door slams behind him tonight. Here's hoping that when he is released in a year or so, he resolves not to return.

All that's left to say is this: who's a Jackass now Matt?


Luc Hansen said...

We find this sentence an indicator of the huge problems our justice system faces.

There is just no way someone at that age (and presumably he is a first offender) should be sentenced to prison when there are so many avenues available to ensure justice is done for what was obviously a moment of teenage madness.

Yes, there are all the if's and but's to consider, and the victim's needs are highly important, but there are so many alternatives that won't cause this kid to now feel permanently handicapped for the rest of his life, as he now will be. Burns heal, and why compound the damage for someone so young?

No wonder we have the second highest rate of imprisonment in the world. Just as we should be turning to Finland to cherry pick the best of their education system that consistently yields such high achievers, so should we look at their justice system that actually aims to keep people out of jail.

Probably very lucky for Shannon, though, that he is white. I shudder to think what your average brown boy would have received!

Keeping Stock said...

Are you seriously suggesting that Matt-Dillon Shannon should NOT be going to prison Luc? This was a serious assault, with potentially fatal consequences.

Shannon is not the victim here; the young fella who woke up to find that he was burning is the victim. And the scars from severe burns do not heal without leaving a degree of disfigurement.

If Matt-Dillon Shannon had wanted to stay out of prison, he shouldn't have been such a pillock. Actions have consequences, as he discovered last night when he got locked in for the night.