Monday, June 27, 2016

Garth McVicar's open letter to the Solicitor General

23rd May 2016 By e-mail and post

Dear Ms Jagose,
Re: Moko Rangitoheriri – Decision to downgrade charges

I am the founder the Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST), an organization set up in 2001 to provide support to victims of crime, and to lobby for changes to the law. Our organization now has some thousands of members and many more supporters.

Along with many, I am both appalled and bewildered by the decision to replace the charges of murder originally laid against Tania Shailer and David Haerewa for the killing of Moko Rangitoheriri (Moko) with charges of manslaughter, to which the accused then pleaded guilty. Clearly this came about by what is popularly known as a “plea bargain”. It is unclear whether the prosecution or defence initiated the discussions which led to that deal. No one is talking.

SST has a number of qualified lawyers as legal advisors. All of those lawyers find the decision inexplicable, assuming the facts are as they have been widely reported. One criminal defence barrister with 25 years experience has said that if the facts are as reported, he would not even have bothered trying to get the charges against Moko’s killers downgraded. At no time since this story broke has there been any statement from your office which clarifies or contradicts the facts as reported in the media.

The Crown Solicitor in Rotorua has referred all queries to you. We understand that you – or one of your delegates – approved the plea bargain under which the murder charges were replaced with charges of manslaughter as required by law.

As I have said, we have sought advice from qualified and experienced lawyers both within and outside our ranks. No-one can explain – or even speculate on – the reasons for this deal being done. Most of our advisers say “there must be something more”.

On behalf of the members of SST, I would like to know if there is in fact anything more, and why exactly this decision was made and if indeed you or your office made it.

SST is organizing a number of rallies to be held at various Courts on the day of the sentencing for Tania Shailer and David Haerewa. While there will be a number of marches and rallies around New Zealand as a build up to the Court House rallies on the 27th. The purpose of the rallies on 27th June will be primarily to address the plea bargain issue.

We would like to read out a statement from you to hopefully allay the publics’ worst fears and I invite you to submit such a statement for me to action.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Garth McVicar 
Founder Sensible Sentencing Trust

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