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Do we have a ‘Duty of Care’ to our kids?

By Garth McVicar
“In tort law, a duty of care is a legal obligation which is imposed on an individual requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care.”

Sensible Sentencing Trust is under no misapprehensions that our politicians have failed in their ‘Duty of Care’ to protect our children from sexual predators!

What about our Judges?  Our legal guardians – the gate keepers for society – have they upheld their legal obligation to our children which requires them to ensure an adherence to a standard of reasonable care? Have they upheld their ‘Duty of Care’ to our kids?

New Zealand’s horrific level of child abuse makes the answer to the two questions above obvious. Both our elected representatives, [our politicians] and our Judges have failed in their ‘Duty of Care’ to ensure our kids are safe from danger – particularly a danger often living right in their midst!

To use another legal acronym by their very actions they have ‘Opened the Flood Gates’.

The legal action against SST by the Director of Human Rights Proceedings has exposed us to the reality of paedophilia – and to be brutally honest, has shaken my world.

So given the fact our politicians and Judiciary have abdicated their ‘Duty of Care’ to our most vulnerable - whose responsibility is it - to ensure our children are protected from evil, who is going to take on this task to ensure our kids are safe from sexual predators?

Sensible Sentencing Trust has a vision of a New Zealand safe from violent crime – that means we have a responsibility to uphold a ‘Duty of Care’ to our children.

already resulted in the Government agreeing to establish a ‘Child Sex Offender Register’ but the proposal at this stage is for a closed register which will still allow these predators to operate underground, in the world of darkness and anonymity they rely on – and our law sanctions! 

Tour of Duty

I am currently undertaking a ‘Tour of Duty’ which involves traveling and speaking to various organisations nationwide. At present I have bookings through to March 2017, please feel free to contact me if you would like to make a booking. 

You can contact Garth at

Our Victim Advisors

Leigh Woodman is our National Victim advisor. Leigh can be reached by mobile: 027 561 2119 or
Jayne Walker is our South Island Victim Adviser. Jayne can be reached by mobile: 021 881 623 or


We have launched a petition (please find your copy enclosed) and we would appreciate all our supporters gathering as many signatures as possible. Click here to find out more as well as download the petition

Call to Action

Paedophilia is the root of all evil; it is at the very heart of New Zealand’s crime problem. Our politicians and Judges may not have the courage to do what needs to be done but SST does and I am urging every one of our supporters to back us on this! This is a personal call to action from me, our children deserve better!

Why I have joined SST - Amber

There will be many different reasons, experiences, and passions that motivate people to come forward and immerse themselves in the New Zealand Justice System. This is mine...

While growing up in an average New Zealand suburb, a trusted member of the community violated my family and destroyed many young children’s lives.  The ‘grooming’ process ensured the victims silence and allowed this vile person to continue to offend for years creating many more victims. The member of my family found strength later in adulthood and shared with us on what happened in their childhood years.  We proceeded through the court system but got little justice. 

The offender had all the rights and our family had none. Now as a mother with a teenager and a toddler, how do I ensure that my family is safe? How do I protect my children and how can I help other families that have the same concerns? 

I needed to be more proactive. I have volunteered to support an amazing group of SST volunteers who are continuing to push the government on sentencing while creating public awareness of our injustices within the system. I challenge you to join us also. There is power by numbers.  Let’s get together and make this country a safer place for our children.

Amber is our newest member volunteering for the Auckland Committee; we thank Amber for her commitment.
A ‘Bucket List’ of despicable sexual acts

Kiwi kids are making ‘bucket lists’ of graphic sexual acts and scoring themselves against each other as a result of unrestricted access to internet pornography and an ever increasing number of sexual predators on the web.

The internet has changed the world we live in. But the benefits of the web have come at the cost of innocence and safety for our young people. Sexual predators can access and manipulate children with ease and the graphic content of what they are viewing is influencing their attitude to sex in a way we will pay for in years to come.

Current legislation is sanctioning paedophilia in many ways and the modern world of internet chat-rooms has given them a raft of new opportunities. Sexual predators using false identifications are tricking children into performing sexual acts online which then enables them to blackmail the child into further acts of sexual depravity.

Children are freely accessing sexually explicit material on the internet and once their sexual interest is heightened they then trawl for even more lewd images without the maturity to properly put in context the pornographic material they are exposed to.

Regretfully this exposure to pornographic material often causes young victims to develop a skewed comprehension of safe sex, appropriate sex and good relationships.

There are examples of young girls and boys making ‘bucket’ lists of all types of sexual behaviour then proceeding to score themselves against their peers to see who can achieve the grossest sexual acts.

CALL TO ACTION We are urging our supporters to contact their M.P. and ask that they take urgent action on this issue and immediately introduce a publicly available sex offender register so the community knows who is living amongst us and the potential risk they pose to our children.

The human rights of our children must be paramount and take precedence over the human rights of any sexual predator. Garth

My Paedophile Father

“My father was convicted of sexually abusing his granddaughter; he was convicted in Australia, but deported back to New Zealand after serving ½ of his prison sentence, without any monitoring to prey on unsuspecting communities. 

The unforgivable trauma and ongoing nightmare my father has chosen to inflict on his once loving family and especially his adored granddaughter is something I would not wish on my worst enemy. 

I will continue trying to prevent other children and families having their precious lives, trust and innocence obliterated by him”.

THUMBS DOWN to Justice Mander and his High Court decision

Sisters Anne-Marie Forsyth and Karen Beaumont were sexually abused as children. Their abuser was convicted and sentenced on five counts of abuse. Both girls had name suppression, as did the abuser. In August last year, the sisters won the right to have their name suppression lifted. Since then, both sisters have been engaged in a lengthy and expensive legal battle to expose the man who committed sex crimes against them. The sister’s recently failed in the High Court to do this and the abuser won his suppression order and still hides behind his Victims.

We say the Judge’s decision sanctions child abuse and it’s a very sad day for New Zealand, but an even sadder day for women and children.

Three Strikes - 5 Years On

On 30 September, what we hope will became an annual lecture in memory of the late Greg King was held in Wellington. Although best known as a defence barrister, Greg was a good friend to SST. The lecture’s topic was “Three Strikes – 5 years on”, and was given by Professor Warren Brookbanks of Auckland University Law School.

The lecture was jointly sponsored by the Justice Hot Tub – a forum established by Greg and SST – and Victoria University Law School. The event was attended by about 130 people, including several Judges of the High and District Courts, and many senior lawyers and policy makers. 

The content of the lecture was perhaps what one would expect from a liberal academic, but in the organisers’ considered opinion, it was important that the inaugural lecture be given  by someone well recognised in both legal and academic circles. In the shallow pool that is New Zealand academia, that inevitably means a liberal who is not inclined to be sympathetic to SST’s point of view.

That said, Prof. Brookbanks conceded that it was “quite possible” that recently released data on three strike offending in the five years prior to and following the law coming into effect indicated a deterrent effect. That is certainly the view of a number of commentators not normally aligned with SST.

Indications from the audience – including the Judges – were that the lecture was very well received, and perceived as being well and fairly run, with ample opportunity to ask questions. In my view, the lecture was a worthy tribute to a much loved friend of SST, and we are hopeful it will become a “must attend” annual event for the legal fraternity and others. 

David Garrett - Barrister

Scott Guthrie: SST Manawatu Regional Spokesman

I was born and raised into a hill country farming family in the heart of the Rangitikei in a small community called Rangiwahia.

As one of nine children, things were never easy and in early years there was never much money but we never wanted for anything. 

My parents instilled into all their children the very important but simple values in life; it is those very values that got me interested in the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

In 1979 when I was only 9 years old my sister was tragically killed by a drunk driver. As we all know back in the day it was simply accepted as an accident. Roll on 11 years and I was approached by the ambulance officer who attended the accident. 

He informed me of the situation that had occurred and that the offender had been drinking after-hours with the local police officer in the local establishment. This had never come out at the inquest and I was aware that my parents had never been informed of the date of the Court Inquest. 

My own investigations confirmed all of this but also showed that the offender had gone on to kill two more innocent people, again while behind the wheel and drunk. Hence my interest in repetitive offenders and sensible sentencing.

The new millennium saw me become a step dad to two beautiful young girls. Sadly both of these children were raped and molested by their paternal grandfather who was charged and convicted. 

Unbelievably he was only sentenced to 3 years imprisonment but actually only served 10 months, hence my very active interest in the terrible rate of rape and murder of our children in New Zealand.

I come to Sensible Sentencing with a huge passion for justice and standing up for the down trodden victims we have in this country. I will fight for what is right to make changes that are so desperately needed in New Zealand. Scott

THUMBS UP to Historic Appeal of the Three Strikes Law

Recently Shane Harrison and Justin Turner were both convicted of murder; at the time of their convictions both offenders had their first strike against them.  

Harrison’s first strike was for indecent assault and Turner’s for wounding with intent causing traumatic brain injuries.

Under the Three Strikes law, Judges have the jurisdiction to give a Life without Parole (LWOP) sentence for any offender who commits murder as their second strike offence.

In the Harrison and Turner case, both judges chose not to use this part of the Three Strike Law instead saying it would be “manifestly unjust”.

The Crown are appealing both Judges decisions, claiming they were wrong in failing to give the two killers a Life without Parole sentence. 

Garth says he believed no judge wanted to be first to send someone to jail without hope of release, so the Court of Appeal was the best way to clarify the law’s “manifestly unjust” provisions. Once we’ve crossed this hurdle of giving Life without Parole sentence, which we are hoping this appeal will do, we are hoping judges won’t be reluctant to go there again.

Thanks Auckland Committee!

Thank you to the Auckland Committee for the amazing support you give to SST. For this committee to give up their weekends to fundraise with Sausage Sizzle’s shows total commitment to the cause.

A huge thank you to Jock and his wife  Margaret for the wonderful job they do raising our profile by addressing various groups. Jock always receives fantastic feedback. Thank you Jock and Margaret for your total commitment.

Garth meeting with some of our Auckland committee. Peter, Amber, Jock and Garth.
to our anonymous donor who donated our latest car for our Christchurch Victim Advisor. We are very humbled to have had 3 cars donated to the Trust. A big thank you to those committed supporters.


Areas that Garth will be speaking at include:

Waikato • Auckland • Bay of Plenty • New Plymouth Wanganui • Dunedin • Milton • South Otago Christchurch • Northland • Wellington • Kapiti Coast

If any members belong to a group in any of these districts and would like a speaker please contact Garth at or write to P.O. Box 701, Napier 4140.

New look membership brochure. If anyone is interested in doing letter box drops please contact the office on 06 835 5521 or email

We would like to thank those who write to us with the encouragement to keep going

We love receiving your mail and it’s that support that keeps us going. “Enclosed is our subscription for the wonderful work you do on our behalf as a community. God knows you have a huge job and we wish you well in all you do”. Member

Our Offender Database Manager Ross along with a support committee and are in the process of transforming our Offender Database to make it more user friendly.

The new look Database should be up and running in the New Year!

Support for SST’s campaign on a Public Register

Every time a child is killed it generates countless reports, reviews, and reforms, successive Governments have tried and failed to make any decent inroads into the number of children being killed. Stuff have done an in-depth review into New Zealand’s travesty  please see links below for full reports.

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