Press Release – The Maori Party
Maori Party MP for Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell, is endorsing his Party’s key election policy to conduct a full review of the justice system, following the outcome of two similar cases in his electorate which saw two young Maori discharged with convictionsTe Ururoa Flavell
Maori Party WHIP | MP for Waiariki
October 5 2011
Discriminatory justice system evident in Waiariki says Flavell
Maori Party MP for Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell, is endorsing his Party’s key election policy to conduct a full review of the justice system, following the outcome of two similar cases in his electorate which saw two young Maori discharged with convictions in one case, and a non-Maori discharged without conviction in the another.
“There are two cases in my electorate which have very similar circumstances, however, the outcome for both is contrasting.” Said Mr Flavell.
“There is no denying that the case in which two Rotorua Boys High School students were convicted following the death of their friend in a jetski accident is a tragedy. The judge described the circumstances as a burden they will carry for the rest of their lives.
“Similarly, in the case against a 65 year old man in Tauranga following the death of his friend in a boating accident, he was spared the conviction with the judge saying the loss of his friend is a significant burden to carry and that alone is a deterrent in itself.”
“Both cases share a similar heartbreak, with the sad loss of a friend through a disaster neither party had anticipated”
“But there is a difference in the sentencing outcomes which has left questions in the minds of my constituents. In the case of the two boys, they are left with a criminal record, yet the Tauranga man is spared.
“Why the difference?” Asks Flavell.
“The statements by the Judges in both cases were almost parallel so I can’t help but question the Justice system in cases like these.” Ends Flavell
A New Zealand study conducted over 21 years found that Maori offenders had higher rates of conviction than non-Maori offenders of the same socio-economic background and with the same history of self-reported offending. The results showed that Maori were 2.1 to 2.6 times more likely to be convicted than non-Maori with the same history of self-reported offending. David Fergusson, et al, ‘Ethnicity and Criminal Convictions, Results of a 21-year Longitudinal Study’ (2003) 36(3) Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 365.