Victims should tell criminals how they feel.
I am angered that the Court are attempting to censor what Kevin McNeil is wanting to say to the man who killed his mother. I’m all for better conditions inside prison’s and prisoner rights, but equally I believe that people who have been wronged must be allowed to be heard and their anger and fury must be heard by the person who has wronged, to have a situation as you do here where officials are stepping in to rob that of him is simply another insult to injury.
Let victims speak out: law expert
Nothing in the law should stop the son of murdered Tokoroa teacher Lois Dear from telling her killer exactly how he feels about him, a victims' expert says. Peter Sankoff, a senior lecturer in law at Auckland University and a researcher on the interaction between victims and the criminal justice system, says the Victims' Rights Act 2002 allows victims to talk about any effect of a crime on them - and this could include comments directed at the offender. But he says judges have interpreted the law conservatively and case law now dictates that victims not criticise the offender or the justice system, confining their comments to the crime's impact on them personally. "I think that's an inaccurate interpretation of what victim impact statements are designed to do," Mr Sankoff said. "If a victim feels let down by the system, they should be able to say so, and I can't see any good reason why they shouldn't. That to me is part of the harm they've suffered." His comments follow a report in the Herald yesterday about Kevin McNeil, the son of murdered Tokoroa teacher Lois Dear, who was asked to tone down a victim impact statement he plans to read to his mother's killer, Whetu Te Hiko, at Te Hiko's sentencing tomorrow. Police told Mr McNeil that critical comments he directed at Te Hiko and the justice system would not be accepted by the judge or prosecution. Mr McNeil has vowed to read the statement and said he would give it to media if prevented from doing so. "It's 30 hours of work and tears that have fallen on the paper," he said. Victim impact statements were introduced under the Victims of Offences Act 1987, marking a change in the victim's role - or lack thereof - in the criminal justice system.