Sunday, December 23, 2012

A one-judge stand

The Herald reports on a District Court judge who is bucking the trend:

A district court judge is waging a crusade from the bench to stop serious offenders being released back into the community.
At one sitting earlier this month, Judge Russell Callander sent four defendants back into the cells while making strong statements about the need to keep the public safe.
During the hearings at the Auckland District Court, Callander said bail was granted too readily and judges could not take any more chances.
"We are almost weekly now presented with ugly situations in court where violent offenders seek and obtain bail, only to return home to inflict either death or further grievous injury on the original complainant," Callander said.
"That strikes fear into the heart of any rational community, and indeed into the heart of any rational judge assessing risk issues on bail."
Callander is usually based in Tauranga but has been filling in at Auckland.
The four defendants who were subject to Callander's crack-down, who can't be named because it may influence pending court trials, were up on a range of offences.
One allegedly king-hit his partner, causing her to go blind in one eye.
Another allegedly robbed a jeweller's shop while high on meth, placing a shotgun to the owner's face.
The third was a recidivist burglar with 106 previous convictions facing a fresh charge of burglary.
The last was a man kicked out of a rehabilitation programme, resulting in breach of e-bail.
The defendants will contribute to a record high for the number of people spending Christmas in a remand prison.

We've known Russell Callander for near enough to 40 years, dating back to his lawyer days in Palmerston North, prior to his appointment to the bench. He is a man of absolute integrity, and in responding to community unease about the granting of bail, a judge in touch with public opinion.

Provided his decisions are within the constraints of the Bail Act, he is to be commended for his one-judge-stand to make the community just a little safer. May his dose of judicial activism be contagious.

Well done Judge Russell Callander.

3 comments:

Graeme Edgeler said...

Do you have any evidence that there is a trend of increasing access to bail which Judge Callander is bucking?

If anything, the trend is one that Judge Callander is merely a part of. The article itself notes:

"The defendants will contribute to a record high for the number of people spending Christmas in a remand prison."

They're not all remanded by Judge Callander, and given that crime rates are trending down, this strongly suggests that Judge Callander is largely going with the flow on this one. Perhaps slightly faster than some others, but hardly bucking a trend.

Anonymous said...

Crime rates are trending down.
Get real, that's just the govt fiddling the figures.
Crime in NZ has never been more brazen nor out of control.
Read the Herald daily for you daily large serve of stabbings, murders, fraud, rape, child abuse.
This country was nothing like it even ten years ago.
Trending down. Nope.

Anonymous said...

NZ is a cesspit of crime these days.
It is often buried under the carpet.
Why does National as the government actually stand by their election promise re this and do something to sort it?

Meanwhile, the Herald devotes whole pages to the plight of David Bain.

Priorities.