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‘Mercy’ Sentence for Female Offender

Filed under: Domestic Violence,Gender Politics,General,Law & Courts — Ministry of Men's Affairs @ 1:40 pm Sun 8th May 2016

This news article was posted by Kumar as a reply under a recent thread but we agree with Allan Harvey that it deserves its own thread so here it is. A woman planned and attempted to murder her three children and white knight Justice Paul Heath rode to her rescue, going to great lengths to explain and justify his chivalry. She was sentenced to two years ‘intensive supervision’, a helping sentence that will require her to attend some counselling and to report to a probation officer initially once a week then reducing. Such a sentence does not oblige her to cooperate with treatment, take medication as directed or anything much else. This pussy pass might seem extraordinary for such serious offending but it’s actually quite ordinary when it comes to female offenders.

As Allan Harvey replied in the earlier related thread, it would be a step forward if males were more often to be shown something of the understanding and compassion typically shown to females. However, the decision to avoid any punitive aspect of this woman’s sentencing, including giving her name suppression, may not be helpful in our society’s efforts to reduce violence. Women routinely see other women who have committed violent offences being treated with huge leniency and this provides no deterrent. Many women correctly believe that if they hit, threaten or abuse others they are unlikely to be ordered out of their homes through a police ‘Safety Order, very unlikely to be charged with any offence and even if they are they will probably have their behaviour excused and avoid significant punishment.

We note other noteworthy aspects of the article concerning this case. Probably coming straight from the judge’s justification, it states “It was important to the mother her children were killed painlessly, efficiently, and without a lot of mess.” Well maybe, but for any male no mention is generally made of such things. For example, in the (recently resurrected on tv) case of the murderer Greg Meads, no mention appeared to be made of the fact that his murder was instant and painless, and this didn’t stop his sentence from exceeding the minimum sentence for murder. His offence was the most simple and humane example of murder one could imagine and there was significant provocation, yet even that didn’t enable a male to receive the minimum sentence of life imprisonment with a 10-year non-parole period.

Justice Heath said “The most significant factor in this case is that, had the children been killed, your conduct might have amounted to the crime of infanticide, rather than murder – notwithstanding your actual intent to kill.” This highlights the law of infanticide, a sexist law enabling women to murder young children with a MAXIMUM sentence of only 3 YEARS PRISON, but they usually receive much less. That law is based on the idea that women are such fragile, child-like creatures whose minds are so easily overwhelmed by their feelings that they should be shown care and help when they murder. Judge Heath clearly took this belief to further extremes in treating a 14-year-imprisonment crime (X3) with only a helping community sentence.

The judge then went on to refer to this offender’s history of depression and the factors that led to a relapse prior to the offending, and referring to her delusional thinking that she was protecting her children from the pain of living without her. But the woman did not qualify for an insanity defence, so it’s spurious then to blame her behaivour on delusions and “severe mental illness”. A legalistic bet both ways it seems.

Psychiatrist Dr Susan Hatters-Friedman (isn’t it interesting how names can fit professions…) attributed this woman’s offending to ‘altruism’ and called such murders of children ‘extended suicide’ that arose out of loving their children so much and being concerned what would become of them. Yeah right. Sisters unite!

Waikato University (surprise, surprise) law lecturer Brenda Midson said this case was likely to act as a precedent to guide future decisions, in that it acknowledges “the offender is low on the scale of moral blameworthiness, because of the situation she was in”. Yeah right, Ms Midson will be hoping that in future women who murder their husbands as they sleep in bed will be treated low on the scale of moral blameworthiness. This case is actually extremely significant and dangerous as a precedent. Men and children, be very afraid.

The esteemed judge claimed that society would not be at further risk from this mother. Well hang on, she has been prone under stress to relapses of mental disorder causing delusional thinking and she demonstrated her willingness to murder children! How can anyone be confident she will be safe in the future?

Note also that the woman is seeing her children in supervised access and the psychiatrist’s report celebrates her rebuilding her relationship with the children. No doubt the supervision will be lifted at some stage given the great faith people seem to have in her harmlessness. That may all be for the best but you can be sure children won’t receive the same opportunity to rebuild their relationship with a father who tried to murder them. CYF would quickly intervene to take those children away from any mother who even allowed such a father to visit the house.

More duplicity and sexism, it never seems to end.


  1. I concluded years ago that all systems and institutions in NZ are so dysfunctional that they are beyond repair. The Courts, Police, CYFS and WINZ lead the way in dysfunction. This is yet another fine example of that dysfunction.

    Comment by Dan Johnston — Sun 8th May 2016 @ 2:21 pm

  2. Oh, and we note also that the article mentions once in passing the woman’s ‘former husband’ who called ‘to check in’ just before she was about to start the car to kill the children, and she reassured him everything was ok then carried on with her murderous plan. The article didn’t think it important to tell us whether or not this ‘former partner’ was the children’s father, or whether the children were now living with him.

    The article made no mention of how it came about that the protective presence of a father or an intact family unit had been removed, or whether the woman had been awarded day-to-day care of the children by the Family Court despite the father’s concerns about her mental health.

    The ‘former partner’ who may well have been the children’s father was clearly caring enough to be phoning this woman to ‘check in’, so there seems little basis for her claimed fears for the children’s future care should she kill herself. More likely, her intended murders were based significantly on punishing the children’s father but this was conveniently ignored by the Court’s specialist assessor and the judge. “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,” and it seems a woman will often feel scorned even when she was the one who decided to trash her children’s family unit.

    Comment by Ministry of Men's Affairs — Sun 8th May 2016 @ 2:56 pm

  3. Totally agree with Dan Johnston’s dysfunctional thoughts. With Adams, Collins and Tolley in the “pony-tail puller” cabinet it can only get worse.

    Comment by JONO — Sun 8th May 2016 @ 4:27 pm

  4. I am so relieved the children survived.

    The way these matters are treated by the government, police and courts is entirely political. NZ men, children and families are paying the price of being politically ineffective.

    The following is interesting.

    An Australian study of all 291 children killed by filicide there between 1997 and 2008 found 140 were killed by their fathers, 127 by their mothers, and the rest by both parents.
    A sixth of the parents – 24 mothers and 16 fathers – killed themselves after killing their children.
    An earlier study by Waikato University sociologist Dr Jo Barnes found 24 cases of parents deliberately killing their own children and themselves in four Australian states between 1973 and 1992. Twelve killers were fathers and 12 were mothers.

    Comment by Bruce Tichbon — Sun 8th May 2016 @ 8:01 pm

  5. Us guys are not cohesive, we share the same views and often experiences.

    Perhaps every man should be prepared to vote for the politician prepared to stand for the blokes. Is Ms Newman still around, perhaps she could have another crack at it.

    Comment by Paul — Wed 18th May 2016 @ 12:25 am

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