Sentencing Trust a Misandrist Organisation
I’m interested in others’ thoughts on this. I say It’s time we officially recognize the so-called ‘Sensible’ Sentencing Trust as an anti-male group. Garth McVicker will become another nominee for the 2012 Miss Andry Male Bashing Award.
McVicker’s latest campaign is to reduce or remove the right to silence, following the Scott Guy homicide case in which his brother-in-law chose not to speak and was found not guilty. In a Radio NZ interview on Monday (find it here) McVicker spoke positively about recent changes in England allowing judges to treat silence as evidence of guilt.
As usual, McVicker failed to acknowledge that such changes designed to increase convictions would impact equally on the truly guilty and the truly innocent. Convicting and punishing an innocent person has always been seen as a worse injustice than failing to convict a guilty person, but the Sentencing Trust policies would tend to increase wrongful conviction and punishment and pay lip service at best to any concern about this. For McVicker and his group, all accused are assumed to be guilty and any findings of ‘not guilty’ show that defendants have too many rights.
Of course, the Sentencing Trust’s proposed changes will apply to both men and women. However, men are more likely to be charged with crimes so we really do need to be vigilant about any change that makes convictions easier to achieve in the absence of better evidence. That men may actually commit more such crimes is irrelevant to the importance of protecting innocent defendants. And the pussy pass contributes to some extent to the gender difference, women being much less likely to be charged for misbehaviour. For example, in domestic disputes if both parties have committed violence against each other and even when the female initiated that violence, the man is usually the only one charged.
Further, McVickers’ Sentencing Trust seems to show much more interest in women than men. He routinely gallops to the side of grieving or aggrieved people from high-profile cases and turns them into his Trust’s poster models, more often females who of course will be more effective in attracting empathy. McVicker has now announced plans to conduct his own investigation into the Scott Guy murder, apparently hoping to expose the defendant-favouring factors from the police detective work through to the trial process. Well, we have seldom heard anything sensible from the Sentencing Trust but this latest dragon-slaying quest suggests it may be flying further into the realm of fantastic delusions of grandeur.
In Monday’s interview McVicker also made it clear that his Trust supported the removal of the partial defence of provocation in murder prosecutions. Men are more often charged with murder so will be more impacted. Also, the pussy pass applies at all stages so female killers are more likely to be charged initially only with manslaughter or to have provocation recognized in reduced sentences when murder is proven. I have seen no indication that men are being given the kind of discount for provocation that they would previously have received under the partial defence law, even in this crime of passion in the news yesterday in which a man killed a friend who had repaid his extensive generosity by having sex with his wife while he was away, indeed was claimed (initially by the lying wife) to have raped her.
Other threats to justice for accused parties include the Trust’s previous calls for juries under certain circumstances to be informed about a defendant’s previous convictions. This witch-hunting idea would make it simple for police to pin crimes on previous offenders knowing they are highly likely to be found guilty on the strength of their past behaviour rather than the strength of evidence they have actually committed the present offence.
The Sentencing Trust also:
– called for increased removal of children from their parents even for minor issues and no proven harm;
– follows the silly habit of labelling ‘victims’ and ‘offenders’ in domestic cases when it is rare for either party not to be both a victim and an offender in all respects;
– supports the sexual abuse industry with no concern for those falsely accused; and
– to my knowledge has never focused its lynch-mob demands on any female offender, defendant or false accuser; for example, why has it not challenged the consistently shorter sentences given to women than men for the same crimes, the rarity with which any female murderer ever gets more than the standard 10-year minimum sentence even for prolonged, cruel or sadistic murders while men almost always get more than 10 years minimum even for quick, relatively humane murders.
McVicker’s Sentencing Trust constantly lobbies in directions that would see mainly men treated less fairly and more harshly. Its ideas are based largely on slogans and shallow reasoning with general disregard for the criminological research. Perhaps unintentionally it has become another misandrist force in our society. Unless and until it shows some concern for falsely accused men and tries to counter the disproportional gender impact of its policies and statements, it deserves to be seen as part of NZ’s misandrist network.