A Christchurch judge has probably brought his tenure to a premature end after a comment from the bench in an opposed bail hearing. Brave and right but probably career-limiting.
Christchurch District Court Judge David Saunders made some very apt political comments from the bench about the government’s ridiculously popularist, but pisspoor “three strikes” legislation for punishing habitual offenders, most of whom are likely to be pisspoor and P-addicted.
According to news reports, Judge Saunders was concerned that the proposed law change could lead to an unavoidable 10-year jail term for an offender fronting on what looked to be a minor charge.
This exchange between judge and solicitor Michael Knowles is from an NZPA story:
On Wednesday, the man was charged with entering Christchurch District Council’s dog pound with intent to commit a crime.
Defence counsel Michael Knowles explained that the man’s dog had been impounded and he had tried to negotiate its return and offered a deposit on the fees. The pound insisted on full payment.
“He may have attempted to take a more direct approach,” said Knowles. “Whether that’s burglary or not, I am in some doubt.”
Judge Saunders commented: “This case points to the failure of the Act policy if this charge were proved. He might likely face 10 years’ jail for going into a dog shelter.
“At $100,000 a year to keep someone in prison, one can imagine the huge cost to the country for something that is relatively minor. A judge might not be allowed to grant parole.”
“America’s arrived, Sir,” Knowles commented. [Judge critical of “three strikes” policy]
It’s unlikely Judge Saunders will get flowers from the two little Hitlers for his honest and outspoken comments.
Meanwhile the unstoppable Mr Lawsuntohimself is doing his bit to keep Whanganui tidy by demanding that the Hell’s Angels pull down an unsightly fence that keeps prying neighbours out of their backyard.
Unfortunately for himself, the neighbours actually like the fence and their bikie neighbours, but they’re not so keen on the mayor.
“The boys love it over there. They fix their bikes for them and everything. They are really family orientated,” says Pamela Taylor, neighbour. (TVNZ)
I think the judge will cop a thumping on talkback tomorrow, probably from himself among others.
Poor guy, maybe this will cheer him up.