Saturday, July 13, 2013

This WILL be a life sentence

Menzies Hallett will, in all likelihood, spend the rest of his life in prison; the Herald reports:

Menzies Hallett has shown little or no remorse for the callous killing of an innocent man and now he will probably die in prison, closing the country's oldest solved cold case.
In the High Court at Rotorua yesterday, Justice Ailsa Duffy sentenced the 72-year-old to life imprisonment for the 1979 murder of Turangi service station attendant Rodney Tahu.
Justice Duffy did not impose a minimum non-parole term, because in 1979, a court was legally unable to do so.
However, Hallett will in effect not become eligible for parole until he has served 10 years, she said.
Hallett was found guilty in May, almost 34 years after the murder.
He confessed to his then wife hours after the killing but the law at the time prevented people giving evidence against a spouse, so he never faced a jury.
That law changed in 2011, paving the way for yesterday's sentencing.
Last night, Hallett's former wife told the Weekend Herald that she wanted to put the issue to bed.
In court, Justice Duffy told Hallett he had shown little or no remorse for the "callous, brutal, senseless and cowardly killing of a helpless, wounded man".
Defence lawyer Paul Mabey, QC, told the judge his client had health issues and the reality was he would die in prison.

This has been a bizarre case on many levels. The police clearly knew who the killer was, but until the laws of evidence changed in 2011, they lacked that one crucial link in the chain.

Justice Duffy summed up Hallatt's actions well when she described them as "callous, brutal, senseless and cowardly". Had the option been open to her, we reckon that a minimum non-parole period of between 14 and 17 years would have been justified.

Hallett has been able to live the best years of his life unhindered by any consequences for the execution-like killing of Rodney Tahu. If there were any signs of him having a conscience, they are not readily noticeable. Conversely, Mr Tahu's whanau were robbed of a husband and father in the prime of his life.

Menzies Hallett gave Rodney Tahu no second chance when he stood over the injured man and shot him in the head from close range. Here's hoping that Hallett has the decency not to go running to the Parole Board appealing for clemency and an early release from prison should his health problems worsen in the years ahead. This is a life sentence which should truly mean just that.


Graeme Edgeler said...

The law of evidence changed in 2007.

Keeping Stock said...

Thanks for that Graeme. That fact was obviously lost on the Herald.

Qunitin Hogg said...

I2, do you expect accuracy in the horrid?

Keeping Stock said...

Good point Quintin