Call for review after ‘idiotic’ bail decision

Ministry of Justice logoNZ Herald 21 December 2015
The family of a child sexually abused by her neighbour then bailed to live at his home up their shared driveway and just 30m from where his victim lives are calling for a review of the decision.

The Weekend Herald revealed on Saturday that the man in his 70s had been granted bail to the address until his sentencing date in June.

He was found guilty by a jury after a three-day trial last month but Judge Anna Johns delayed sentencing until after a second trial next year in which he will stand accused of offending against another child.

She also continued the offender’s bail meaning the first victim, now 10, and her family see the man most days. They said their Auckland home has become a prison and “an absolute hell” as a result.

On their behalf victim advocate group Family First has written a letter to the Solicitor General and Justice Minister Amy Adams requesting a review of the bail decision.

The man, in his 70s, has name suppression. That was granted because he lives next door to the victim, who has automatic and permanent name secrecy due to the sexual nature of the charges.

Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie said the bail decision was “unacceptable”.

“A decision like this simply re-victimises the child, is hugely traumatic for the family trying to recover from the offences committed previously, and sends a message to the community that the rights of offenders are greater than the rights of victims,” he said in the letter, sent this afternoon.

“For this horrific child abuse, the offender receives a punishment of celebrating Christmas at home, while the abuse will impact the child for the rest of her life.”

Mr McCoskrie said Judge Johns did not place enough weight on the victim’s rights as outlined in the Ministry of Justice guidelines on bail.

He said in her “idiotic” decision Judge Johns “failed to give the protection of the victim its due primary importance”.

“Based on this decision, it appears that the justice system in New Zealand simply doesn’t value the welfare and protection of our vulnerable young children,” Mr McCoskrie wrote.

“Put simply, it appears to be an idiotic decision – and our view is shared by many New Zealanders. We would therefore ask for an immediate review of this bail decision.”

The Herald has sought comment from the Crown Law Office and Mrs Adams on the letter.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11564397

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