IN THIS ISSUE: What does SST mean to You? | Child Abuse Sky-Rockets A Huge shift for the Future | NZ Courts - A Travesty | Frivolous Court Appeals | Our Tribute to Sir Russell Pettigrew | Thug avoids Jail | SST on the road
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MAY 2016

The Rise of SST

By Garth McVicar
In our last Newsletter I mentioned that I would be undertaking a ‘Tour of Duty’ which would involve me travelling around New Zealand to thank our supporters for making the SST journey possible, but also to let the public know what the future holds and continue building public awareness and support.

The ‘Tour of Duty’ is now well underway and as I write this I am in Gore, having driven from Picton to Bluff via the West Coast with many speaking engagements along the way.

I have been pleasantly surprised at just how widely SST is known and supported everywhere I have been with people coming up and shaking my hand, congratulating us and wishing us well, normally with encouraging words like “keep up the good work” and/or “don’t go away.”

While SST is now a nationwide brand and acknowledged in Wellington as a justice ‘Stakeholder’, it is imperative that we continue to do what SST’s name has become synonymous with i.e. Victims Advocacy and Justice Reform. The role of a lobby group such as SST is to be the squeaky wheel and make enough noise to guarantee political buy-in to ensure public safety is paramount in any and all legislation.

Since the early 1980’s, Burrett, now 64, has bounced around New Zealand’s education system, working his way up to principal, then slipping to deputy, relief teacher, and then tutor. His 40-year career ended last May when he was arrested and charged while working as a special needs bus driver and school caretaker in Christchurch, Burrett plead guilty to 21 child sex abuse charges last month. His victims were as young as 5; some were intellectually disabled and one was wheelchair-bound.

See story lower down this email

Membership Renewal

Enclosed is the membership renewal form. We appreciate your annual donation as we are making a difference thanks to your ongoing support. A huge thanks to those members who have already renewed their membership and we welcome our new members. It’s a privilege to work on your behalf to bring about much needed changes with our Justice System.

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

NZ Law Society – Off Base

As our supporters will know SST has been very vocal about our absolute abhorrence of paedophilia and sex offending.

We have said that we believe current legislation (and some Judges) is sanctioning this despicable behaviour by allowing offenders to hide behind name suppression and/or simply change their names after conviction and carry on abusing children, albeit under a new name.

Should convicted sex offenders be able to legally change their name? Jian Yang is a National MP who would be very welcome at a Sensible Sentencing Trust meeting anytime!

Mr Yang believes paedophiles should not be able to change their name after conviction. Of course SST agrees with him. But the NZ Law Society says the bill would breach the paedophiles rights!

National Dragging Their Feet

The National Government seems to be dragging their feet on this issue and while they have agreed to a Child Sex Offender Register they are procrastinating over the human rights and privacy of those convicted of such despicable offences. Yes you read that correctly …the human rights and privacy of PAEDOPHILES!

New Zealand First say a Child Sex Offender Register must go ahead

...and recently released a statement saying that the child sex offender register must be made public.

Sentencing for Paedophiles.
Justice for Victims

Seems like a simple equation but in reality it is far from simple. My name is Mary* and I am an Aunt to one of the victims of the paedophile offender Robert Selwyn Burrett....As a child victim myself of a paedophile I feel I have a lot of insight as to the impact this sort of offending has on its victims.

I am angry, distressed, sad and bewildered by the current lack of adequate sentencing for paedophiles, much the same feelings I had as a powerless, scared, confused child.

I am aware that in general folks read about these horrific crimes, maybe think that it is so wrong, but go on with life thinking there is nothing they can do to help... Well they can get behind the folks at the Sensible Sentencing Trust and make a difference.

Burrett has done what most paedophiles do, he groomed, bribed, stalked and intimidated these children into a den of evil. He had no thoughts, care, or conscience about abusing these children as people like him think it is their right to satisfy their evil, sickening deeds upon the innocent.

All children are our responsibility as a society, they look to us to protect and nourish them yet this LLB (Low Life Bastard) will most likely get more protection than will ever be available to his victims.

I say as strongly as I can, there should be no time off sentence for pleading guilty, no time off for restorative justice meetings, no early parole. All these options are in aid of helping the offender plead guilty and they hope like hell no more evidence will come out about them. Offering restorative justice leads to a decrease in sentence and is of no help to victims; early parole is a ploy to chuck out criminals from jail to make room for more criminals. BUILD BIGGER JAILS... after all he is free to re-join society and re-offend. I believe he will. These people do not reform, they just get sneakier... The three strikes system is a slight improvement BUT in my view, one conviction should see paedophiles locked up forever.

These children will suffer for life, so should he!

About the only thing that can give victims any feeling of justice is that the adults have done the best they can by them by giving them a little power back in knowing their offender will never again get the chance to ruin another child’s life. Also there should be NO concurrent sentencing, a sentence for each charge so that each child feels as if they have been heard. Lumping them all together is not good enough...

*Mary (not real name) to protect her niece.

Burrett was sentenced in Christchurch on the 12th April, the Judge sentenced him to 19 and half years behind bars with a minium of 10 years without parole. Let’s hope the parole board see fit to keep him away for his full 19 and half years and beyond!

School vetting to protect our children

We are all up in arms about the lack of vetting for faculty members at schools but have we considered who the volunteer parents are who we are leaving in charge of our children?

My children go to a very small South Island rural school of approximately 150 pupils. As parents we are often asked if we can drive our children to various activities which we all agree to do without a second thought. 

When we fill in the permission form and tick the box to say we will help, the only vetting in this case is whether our car is registered and warranted. It never crosses my mind exactly who is driving my kids around and whether or not they have driving convictions or other issues because I ALWAYS put my hand up so my children are never put in harm’s way. 

Call me paranoid but as a serving member of the Board of Trustees I know how relaxed some schools are when it comes to policy and procedure. Our Schools are only as good as the Principal or how qualified the Board of Trustees happen to be. 

My experience has also taught me that schools are run in a very reactive way and things generally get fixed only when something goes wrong. That’s fine when it comes to ‘things’, but if a child is abused it is impossible to fix.

When my eldest child’s time came to go to camp I was pretty comfortable about the parents who were putting their hands up to accompany the children as overnight helpers. 

I make a point of being involved at school so I know the community well but my business mentality kicked in and I wondered what comfort there was for parents sending their children off for a ‘sleep over’ with adults they don’t know and may have never met. I was 100% sure that most parents put their trust in to the school to make the right decisions.

Because of this I decided to ask the question at the next Board meeting about whether parents going on any overnight excursions with the school are vetted. 

The response was a little like tumbleweed floating through the main road of a ghost town in an old western movie. Silence! I’m not sure if this was because people were shocked that I had asked the question or because they were shocked that they hadn’t.

The answer wasn’t one I was happy about because there was no vetting of parents going on overnight excursions with children. This included coaches who accompany our kids on sports trips too. 

Rest assured it’s now part of the procedure at our small school despite our chairperson not supporting the idea of vetting parents as it raises the problem of ‘what do we do if a person comes back from the vetting process with a red flag??’

I’ll leave you to ponder how I felt about the raising of that question.

If there was ever an argument for having the sex offenders going on a PUBLIC register, then it this is it. We are just one school who now has a vetting policy because they happened to have a Board member who is involved with SST. 

What about the thousands of schools that don’t and are therefore continuing to put our children in unnecessarily vulnerable positions? 

Police vetting is an easy process and a totally free service for Schools.

Anonymous writer to protect the South Island School

Sensible Sentencing Supports Police Initative to Target Burglars

Criminal offending down but sadly offending against children is on the up

In the area of Criminal Offending it is rare to find a good news story, but we have one now. Crime has come DOWN.

No, we are not citing Police Statistics; we are quoting from the New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey 2014.

NZCASS carry out a nationwide survey every three years of approximately 7,000 NZ residents over the age of 15 years.

The latest survey completed in 2014 shows a DROP of 30% in incidents of crime. 

This is a very significant drop and credit must go to all groups who support proactive Justice Initiatives. i.e. Three Strikes Legislation, Tightening of Bail Laws, more stringent Parole application etc.

On the down side the NZCASS identified that 39% of all violent interpersonal offences involved alcohol (either the offender, the victim or both). 18% of violent interpersonal offences involved a weapon.

Only 24% of interpersonal offences were reported to the Police.

Suffice to say we are very heartened to see the DROP in incidents of crime in New Zealand, but believe serious attention needs to be given to the effect that alcohol has on the survey results.

NZCASS only surveys NZ residents down to age 15 years and therefore unfortunately gives no indication of the extent of offending against our children.

Sensible Sentencing Trust is gravely concerned that offending in this area is growing alarmingly, specifically in the area of sexual abuse.

Paedophiles are increasingly utilising modern technology to set up contact with our children, thereby enabling grooming and sexual abuse.

Sensible Sentencing Trust is so concerned with the growth of this type of offending that our primary focus in the immediate future will be to get legislation that ensures paedophiles can be closely monitored as long as they continue to pose a risk to our children.

Regretfully the most serious risk of sexual abuse of our children will in most cases come from somebody we already know and trust. Alan Monk

The new Policing model is destined to cost us dearly

Effective Policing should be a process of working with the public to provide safety and security for our society. Regretfully senior Police Managers are focused almost entirely on stretching the Police Financial Vote to ever greater limits.

The inevitable result is rank and  file Police Officers are getting further away from the public they serve and consequently the public they rely on to be the extra eyes and ears they need to be an effective Police Service.

It is getting harder and harder to achieve face to face meetings with a member of our local Police.

Many many suburban Police Stations have been closed, larger stations invite you to pick up the phone positioned outside the unmanned Police Office, and after hours callers are asked to come in again during “Office Hours”. It is little wonder that RECORDED crime is down.  The new systems do not encourage close meaningful contact with our local Police.

Successful Policing should not be judged on a drop in RECORDED crime, but rather the drop in REPORTED crime and then only if we can easily find a Policeman to report that crime.

District policing numbers

Red line Police numbers 2009 - Green line Police numbers 2013

Part of SST’s Burglary Policy

Minimum sentence for repeat offenders of 5 years imprisonment with a non-parole period. 

A repeat offender once convicted of a third or subsequent burglary should be promoted as a form of ‘three strikes’ policy.

Sentencing for subsequent burglary convictions must materially increase towards the 10 year maximum term available.

SST say great initiatives as far as the police nailing these burglars. It concerns us though that the police won’t have enough ‘tools in the tool box’ to follow these initiatives (see graph above).

Parole for newbie’s

After presenting submissions in person at 22 parole hearings (and counting) we thought it was time to reflect and present an informative guide for those who still have to face this ordeal.

Firstly, you must be a ‘registered victim’. This is done through the Corrections Dept. A registered victim means (1) you are the victim, or (2) you are a member of the victims’ family. There is a glaring gap in the system here where in certain cases, members of the offenders’ family may also be victims of the offender but are not recognised as such. This applied in our case.

Parole hearings take place for you and the offender completely separately so there is no need for you to face the offender who will be seen in the prison. The Parole Board will meet you at an outside venue.

Attending a parole hearing is in fact optional. You can make oral submissions or in writing or opt out completely and leave everything to the parole board.  This was not a choice for us. We wanted to have some input into the decision making process and did not have faith in the parole system to deliver an outcome which put the safety of victims and the public ahead of all other considerations. In this belief, we were correct! 

It is the right of a registered victim to have their say about what happens to the offender even though it means reliving the event which made you a victim in the first place. It can be a traumatic and nerve wracking experience but, be assured, while there are no guarantees, you can make a difference. 

Gresham Marsh and Leith Ray murdered Margaret’s mum and dad in a double murder.

That being so, victims are denied the type of information needed to make an informed submission. It is like boxing with one hand behind your back, but you do the best you can.

Thanks to several written requests to the Dept. of Corrections to supply victims with an updated offenders’ history while in prison, this is now being done. Previously victims had to write a separate letter to Corrections asking for it. 

The information on offenders refers to their level of risk within the prison environment, their overall behaviour within prison and the courses they attended. Whether a course was actually completed ‘successfully’ is sometimes indicated, sometimes not. You may want to highlight an offender’s lack of participation in courses or the time since one was done. They are not compulsory.

Parole hearings may be a face to face meeting with members of the board where they can see and hear your emotion and you can emphasise points better than in writing. The meeting could be in your town/city or you may be required to travel. Victim Support can assist with travel & accommodation. Alternatively, a hearing may be by video link locally where you and the board see and talk to each other on screen.

Typically there can be three to six panel members comprising judges, psychologists, and others. After introductions, the victims are invited to make their verbal submission. You have one chance so take it and don’t hold back. Questions may be asked by members of the panel though in our experience, this is rare. It will all be over before you know it. You will not be asked if you have any questions of them so if you do, you will need to quickly initiate it. 

The outcome of the parole hearing will be available once the board have met both you and the offender, who they normally see following the meeting with you. To avoid becoming anxious about the outcome you can request the decision by phone. The full written decision will take around two weeks to arrive.

Jock and Margaret Jamieson are happy to help with any parole issues Phone Jock on  022 184 5117

Why I Become Involved

I was 16 the day I sat in court with Dad listening to a Judge read out details of the horrific kidnapping, rape and murder of Karla Cardno.  My world changed that day as the harsh reality of how cruel and dysfunctional our so-called Justice System had become was laid bare before my eyes!

Karla’s stepfather, Mark Middleton was found guilty of threatening to kill the man that had committed that heinous crime and all the emotions came flooding out; anger, tears, compassion, and frustration. 

This case has always been close to my heart, I am not sure if it’s because I saw how broken Mark Middleton was or because of Karla’s age but it’s what motivates me today to help make a change. My aim as Youth Advocate for the Sensible Sentencing Trust is to make our youth aware of what is happening to their future and to get my generation motivated enough to want to see changes to our criminal sided Justice System.   

Some of society is making excuses for our young criminals; I believe everyone is responsible for their own actions.  It is for these reasons I am involved in a tour of colleges with Jock and Amber. My hope is to make these young people aware of what is happening around them and how they can change it. 

I would like to get the message to these young people that it’s up to them the path they choose, no matter what kind of background they have come from. Make good of your life, make a stand and let’s make a change. My parents brought me up to understand that I was personally responsible for my actions, and even though I made mistakes and mum and dad were as understanding as they could be, I was the one ultimately held to account. Slowly and gradually the message got through; the choice was mine. I could be stupid and destroy my life or I could step up and make a life for myself.

The Government can raise the age of the Youth court and spend millions overhauling CYF but the real answer is good basic values and good traditional Mums and Dads who love their kids and will do the best they possibly can for them. Jess

Along with Margaret and Jock, our Victim Advisors Leigh Woodman and Jayne Walker have a wealth of knowledge on how New Zealand’s Justice System works. Please phone if you need their help.

Leigh Woodman 027 561 2119 - Jayne Walker 021 881 623

Supporting a Family Screaming for Help

Things work in mysterious ways and sometimes fate plays a part.

Since 1988, Taranaki Black Power had twice beaten murder charges. The gang thought they were invincible. In March 1996, a group of Black Power attacked a Mongrel Mob member with a tomahawk in the Taranaki suburb of Marfell. The incident was brutal. The victims face was slashed, and several of his fingers were cut off. 

Christopher Crean witnessed the attack and was the sole Crown witness prepared to testify. Black Power threatened him & Police offered witness protection, but Christopher refused – a refusal which, while brave, ultimately proved fatal, as Black Power set about plotting his murder.

On 6 October 1996, a gunman carrying a 30-30 Winchester rifle knocked on Christopher’s door. As Chris answered, a shot was fired. The glass panel in the door offered little resistance and the bullet flew through it. Chris died in hospital the next day. A Taranaki Black Power member said that the killing had sent a clear message to potential prosecution witnesses: “Oh, well they know now. Who . . . wants to get in the stand now?”

The police moved quickly to bring closure to the case. Despite the confidence that the killing would deter further witnesses, it was from within the gang that crucial evidence was to come. The Black Power’s own president gave evidence against his own. Four Black Power members were convicted of murdering Chris and given mandatory life sentences.

Fast forward 20 years and as spokesperson for SST on gangs I am doing some research on gangs and gang murders in New Zealand. I had always been aware of the Crean case so I took a gamble and contacted a detective who was part of the Crean murder investigation in 1996.

The detective was really helpful and actually very interesting to talk to. I explained what I was doing and passed my number on to him and told him if he thought SST could ever help the Crean’s please pass my number on. I received a call from Mrs Liz Crean the very next day. We chatted about various things but the whole time I was very wary not to delve too deep.  She mentioned to me that she was finding it very difficult to deal with the parole hearings that were now a yearly thing and four times per year at that! I asked her if she thought there was anything we could do and she asked me if I could come and see her and some family members at their home.

Meeting the Crean family was a very moving and poignant time for me and although it has been 20 years since their son’s murder I could clearly still see and hear the emotion as they spoke.

Two of the offenders have now been released on parole and the other two are due for their third parole hearing this year. 

One of the released offenders was required to reappear in front of the parole board for a six month assessment after his initial release. When he was released one of his parole conditions was that he was not allowed to enter the Taranaki region for five years. 

At his assessment he applied to the parole board to have the condition revised due to the fact that he has family in Taranaki and he would like to attend Hui and Tangi as he saw fit and unbelievably the parole board agreed to his request so now we have victims living in fear in their own town.

The Creans are a lovely family who are exhausted and can no longer carry their fight on. They have asked me to be their family spokesperson and represent their family at the parole hearings in the future and fight to keep the last two offenders in prison for as long as we can and to see if somehow someway I can’t keep the rest of the offenders out of Taranaki.

Supporting victims is not only about the hugs, the listening and the understanding, it can and must also be about fighting for or alongside the victims for justice and for their rights, and this is something that I am proud to do for the Crean family. 

As spokesperson for SST on Gangs I stand by my word and I will fight to get rid of these criminals and eradicate them from society.

Thug Avoids Jail - Victim Left Court in Shock

Since our inception in 2001 SST has been battling a dysfunctional Justice system.  We are proud of our many wins albeit the government of the day taking the kudos.  We have lobbied hard and will continue to do so.   Of course we could never do this without your overwhelming support.

  1. To gain initial traction and start to rebalance the system we lobbied for Victims’ Rights and many homicide victims families presented to various Select Committees.
  2. The RSA landmark court case for compensation for Susan Couch and other RSA victim families.
  3. We lobbied the government on the sentencing and parole reforms. Although the current situation is still not ideal, most murder sentences are a lot more than the 10 years when SST began.
  4. We lobbied for the  introduction of DNA  testing for all convicted offenders (this has helped in a lot of ‘ cold cases’).
  5. The Three Strikes legislation was a significant win (prior to this offenders could amass hundreds of offences).
  6. Lobbied government to put Victims’ rights at the heart of the Justice System (ongoing).
  7. Victim charter introduced and SST won the National Trust of the year.
  8. Lobbied for the $50 offender levy which was introduced in 2010. In the first 12 months it exceeded expectations, collecting $2 million dollars. Since then the offender levy has collected $16.6 million.  The levy is used to fund entitlements and services for victims of serious crime.
  9. Lobbied for National Victims centre which today is the central distribution centre for all Victim Support and victim associated funding.
  10. Lobbied  for changes to tighten bail laws. Changes have now been introduced and 25% bail applications granted (still progressing, with many Judges not interpreting law correctly).
  11. SST has made many submissions and attended all Select Committee hearings on justice and victim related issues. 
  12. SST lobbied for longer parole postponements and the parole board can now postpone parole hearings for up to five years.
  13. Another SST win was the appointment of a Senior Victim Advisor (to report directly to Minister of Justice on victim issues).

Thank you to our supporters - without your help we wouldn’t exist!


The British Prime Minister is furious as Judges rule paedophiles and rapists should have a chance to get off the sex offenders register!

David Cameron declared war on unelected Judges after they put the human rights of paedophiles and rapists before public safety.

The Prime Minister said he was ‘appalled’ that Britain’s 50,000 sex offenders can appeal against being kept on a police register for life. 

He described a ruling over sex offenders’ rights to apply to have their name removed from the register as ‘completely offensive’.

Mr Cameron called for an overhaul of the ‘completely offensive’ rulings from the European Court of Human Rights which have influenced our own Judges.

‘It’s about time we started making sure decisions are made in this Parliament rather than in the courts,’ Mr Cameron said. And he announced plans to ensure MP’s make laws rather than the judiciary.

He told MP’s that a commission to draw up a British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act will be set up ‘imminently’. 

Derryn Hinch takes the plunge and forms ‘Common Sense’ Justice Party

Many of our supporters will remember when we brought Derryn Hinch to New Zealand to speak in support of our push for a sex offender register.

Even though Derryn is now officially an ‘Australian’ being an ex-pat New Zealander, the fact he has been very vocal on law & order issues has made him very popular on both sides of the Ditch.

Derryn’s stance on law & order and in particular his push for a sex-offender register has seen him lead a very high profile campaign and even spend 50 days in prison.

Although Derryn’s various campaign’s have contributed to a hardening attitude towards crime and criminals and many legislative changes in Australia, he has decided more needs to be done. In typical Derryn style he has decided to form the Justice Party.

Sensible Sentencing Trust congratulates Derryn and wishes him all the very best for the future.

For more information please go to;

Child Sex Offender Name Change Bill is NOT a Human Rights Violation

The proposed Amendment Bill to disallow convicted paedophiles from legally changing their name sounds like a no-brainer to most regular kiwis. 

However, the Labour Party, Attorney-General, Green Party and the Law Society all think otherwise. Their main argument is that it would infringe on the offender’s freedom of expression rights under the Bill of Rights Act.

Paul Dally was granted a new name to hide his history of sex offences. Dally went on to murder Karla Cardno under his new name!In my opinion, this is a big steaming load of B.S. It seems apparent to me that the main reason convicted criminals want to change their name is not to express themselves but to conceal their past and make it easier for them to access places a convicted criminal shouldn’t be able to access. 

My submission to support this Amendment outlines the rationale for this thinking; however it’s pretty bloody common sense.

The benefits of this legislation are clear. Even a child can understand the rationale for not allowing criminals to change their name. The arguments against the proposed Amendment, which are flimsy at best and at worse careless and irresponsible, are not sufficient to be weighed against even one case of child sexual abuse. let alone the hundreds and thousands of cases the closing of this loophole will prevent in the future.

It is common sense that tells us that allowing convicted criminals to change their name is a bad idea. To make the excuse that they may be changing their names as a way to express themselves is simply folly. 

How did we get to a state where we even have to argue for such things? It saddens me greatly that I have to make justifications for legislation which provides such an obvious benefit. 

Offender’s rights should never take precedent over the rights of victims and law abiding citizens. Hopefully our law makers will start to talk more about victim’s rights and less about offender’s rights in the future. But if they don’t, I’ll always try to remind them.

Excerpt from Neville Petersson’s blog Sight; Neville Petersson submission: Child Sex Offender Name Change Bill

Thumbs Up: To the Seattle USA Department of Corrections

A murderer asks parole board for early release but they add 20 years to his sentence

A murderer serving three life terms for killing three people saw two more decades added to his sentence after a Washington State parole board considering his request for early release felt his crimes called for a harsher punishment.

Timothy Pauley, 57, went before the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board to convince them his behaviour behind bars over the past 35 years should earn him an early release from prison, the Seattle Times reported.   Pauley was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and sentences for two of the counts are to run consecutively. Pauley entered prison in 1981 and— with time off his sentence for good behaviour— finished his first murder term in 1999.  While in prison, Pauley has been a relatively trouble-free inmate, according to reports. He has regularly worked, attended school, mentored other inmates and participated in religious activities, according to testimony during a board hearing in January. 

If the board had agreed to reduce his sentence, Pauley could have been freed as early as February 2018. His early release was opposed by relatives of the victims, as well as King County Prosecutor Dan Satterbeg and Congressman Dave Reichert, who investigated the murders as a detective with the Kings County sheriff’s office. Pauley will not be eligible for parole until 2031.

SST says it goes without saying this Correction Department should be cloned.

Thumbs Down: To Judge Rebbecca Ellis

A 40-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to 47 charges of possessing child pornography in August of last year.

The married man was discharged without conviction in Wellington District Court in November, and the decision was upheld in a judgement released 17th March 2016.

In total, police found approximately 2412 images and one movie, choosing 47 of the most disturbing images to base the charges against the IT consultant. The images were photographs of children engaged in a variety of sexual acts, including sexual violation of the children by adults, children engaged in sexual acts with other children, and children performing sexual acts on animals.

Police appealed the decision to let the man walk free at Wellington High Court last Tuesday but failed to convince Justice Rebecca Ellis.

In a judgement released today Justice Ellis said she found the case “difficult and finely balanced” but ultimately believed a conviction would be “out of all proportion to the gravity of his offending

SST says - For every one of those images there is a Victim.

“The face of Innocents”

Stuff has assembled the first and only known database of each child to have needlessly died because of neglect, abuse, or maltreatment since 1992.

New Zealand remains one of the most dangerous countries in the developed world in which to grow up, despite efforts from successive governments. Every second day a child is admitted to hospital suffering from inflicted injuries. 

SST encourages the public to go to the below web page, Stuff have put together a memorial wall for those children, who have needlessly died at the hands of an abuser, it’s a very sobering page.

Family Group Conferences / Good Bad or plain ugly?

Over the years Sensible Sentencing has driven many changes from longer sentences for the worst crimes to giving the police greater powers but ultimately if we are ever to get on top of the crime endemic that pervades New Zealand, we need to ensure young offenders are held accountable and responsible for their actions.

At present the Youth Justice Sector offers a plethora of options designed to keep a young offender out of Court. These include; Diversion, Alternative actions, Family Group Conferences and more.


Recently a 14-year-old unlicensed driver appeared in the Masterton Court charged with the deaths of two teenage passengers after he crashed a stolen car fleeing police. It was also revealed that he had a raft of driving and theft charges plus historical charges to other crimes. In other words a ‘nasty piece of work’ at least on his way to becoming a career criminal.

Did this young criminal enter a ‘guilty’ plea? Not on your nelly!

The current system means this young criminal was able to [encouraged to] simply state ‘not denied’ to all charges meaning he will now go to a Family Group Conference!


The question needs to be asked if the current youth justice system is achieving what should be an end objective of reducing crime and deterring young offenders from a life of crime. 

Given that the Government has gone to so much trouble to manipulate the statistics we can safely assume they are not.


Accountability.. Boundaries.. Consequences.. Discipline

Thank You!

Thank You! Recently a workmate mentioned to me that a friend of theirs needed signwriting for a vehicle she used for her job. Now that in itself probably doesn’t sound that exciting but when I heard it was for the Sensible Sentencing Trust it got me thinking somewhat.

Past experience has shown just how disappointing some of the mediocre sentences handed down are and it’s good to hear about Garth and his SST team trying to put that right.

I can also understand that funding for the organisation must be very difficult at the best of times. Through my own 35 years of motor racing I know just how difficult finding funds can be. Our team has enjoyed many years of support throughout our time racing so I thought to myself, here’s another chance to do a little bit of good in return.

Under the banner of Nees Graffix and we design and create all the signwriting for our race cars in-house, plus complete work for not only other race teams, but also signage for anything from excavators to courier vans, all just as a hobby.  We were pleased to offer completion of this job free of charge and we are very pleased with the result. Nees Racing wishes Garth and his team all the best for the future and trust our little bit goes a lot further towards promoting the SST team’s efforts.

Regards, Roger Nees - -

SST would like to thank those who have collected signatures for our campaign to change legislation. We are trying to remove all rights to name suppression for a convicted paedophile and the establishment of the sex offender register.

We are overwhelmed with the public who have taken the time to collect signatures. We are still collecting signatures and will continue to do so as long as needed.

The petition form can be printed off from

It’s great to have our Christchurch car up and running with signage. Our next goal is to find sponsorship for the same in Auckland

Thank you Sir Russell: On behalf of the team at Sensible Sentencing we would like to thank the late Sir Russell Pettigrew and family for the very generous donation left to us upon his death. The donation has been used to revamp the SST web-site and offender data base. Being very passionate about justice issues we are sure Sir Russell would agree the money has been put to good use. He was an amazing man and we miss him and his sound advice.

Recently Napier’s Major and local MP Stuart Nash held a public meeting. Garth was also asked to speak. 

Our Eastern region is losing 100 staff because of funding restraints! Napier is also losing their police station which will now be based in Hastings. As mentioned in an early piece it seems to be the trend for most districts.

I found an interesting quote from John Key our Prime Minister, from a speech to the Police Association annual conference in 2007;

“More police in proportion to the population reduces crime. So we want more police on the beat, “the only way for police numbers to go is up” John Key

Our earlier graph certainly doesn’t show that statement to be true.

If you have paid your annual subscription after the 1st April please ignore the enclosed invoice, or if you have recently joined SST, also please ignore enclosed invoice. Thank you to those who continue to support us.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers throughout New Zealand, without your help our job would be impossible.

For contacts at Head Office, Napier;

Database Manager -

38 years in police force -

SST Researcher -

visit us at
Call 0900 72 33 69 To Make A $20 Donation to SST
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