Friday, August 08, 2014

Is our justice system too soft?

There have been a number of cases recently that seem to have remarkable outcomes. An obvious contender yesterday was the discharge without conviction of the teenager who beat-up Stephen Dudley, who subsequently died.

But that's not the one that caught my attention today.

A woman in the Waikato  stole over $90,000 from her employer.

Richard Annandale, prosecutor for the Department of Internal Affairs, said a feature that loomed large was the degree of trust placed in Hamilton...
Hamilton's lawyer, Eilidh Hook, said her client was very remorseful for her actions, had already paid $10,000 reparation to the court and was prepared to pay the remainder with a cleaning job that paid $240 per week.
Hamilton, who has a young child with her partner, initially had no intention of stealing the money.
It was simply "in front of her and it became a habit that she could not turn down", Hook said.
She asked for a sentence of community detention and community work so Hamilton could continue her part-time cleaning. But the judge declined to do that, given the gravity of the offending.
He also said he felt uneasy about having Hamilton left repaying such a large amount of money over such a long period of time, so ordered that she repay a total of $30,000 to Gittings. Given the fact she is pregnant and a first offender, Macdonald said a home detention sentence was appropriate.

FELT UNEASY. What the heck does that mean? Did he feel uneasy about the effect the crime had on the business owner? Did he feel uneasy about the message this woman sends to other employers about trust?

She only has to repay a third of what she stole. That's a tidy profit.

Waikato Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sandra Perry said bar owner Bernard Gittings has received a "double slap in the face".
Perry said not only was Gittings ripped off by employee Jane Hamilton but also he's only going to recoup one-third of the $90,000 stolen from his business.
"First of all the businessperson suffers and then the person doesn't get fair retribution. That just seems like a double slap in the face for him. Doesn't it look like crime pays?"
Perry said she had been shocked by the amount of fraud hitting Waikato businesses in recent times. Even more disturbing was the fact that most was committed by women, she said.

No wonder. The consequences  are soft.


Anonymous said...

What do you suggest? Taxpayers make good from the thief? And then spend another 100K per year on prison?

Or we sell the baby to some Australian couple, and then sell the thief's organs for transplant?

because that's the only way we'd see 90K back again

thor42 said...

"Is our justice system too soft?"

Yes. No doubt about it.

We have seen a ruffian getting off a conviction because he "might be the next Maori King".

We've seen another guy avoid conviction after a fight that killed a young guy because the assailant "wanted to become a teacher".

With that kind of pathetic attitude from the judiciary, it will be no surprise to see strong support for people who take the law into their own hands and seek vigilante justice. Such justice would be a whole lot more just than the nonsense being handed out by the courts.

S. Beast said...

I don't see what's wrong with paying back the full amount regardless of the length of time it takes - shouldn't it always go that way?

The business has paid more than the cost of the fraud by having to replace the offending staff member and probably paid for a private investigator when they suspected something was amiss. Then there is the lost work time.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

I am with you S. Beast

She can pay it back over 30 years at $58 a week if necessary.

How she does it is her problem.

David said...

but fear not, IRD was successful in getting a $250 million dollar judgement against a man who ran a tax avoidance scheme - note avoidance not evasion, the distinction used to be that the former was legal, the latter not.