Why is some­one get­ting away with mur­der?

Auckland City Harbour News - - News -

Sounds strange, but watch­ing two sis­ters ag­o­nise on television over the ter­ri­ble stresses and events in­volved in their fam­ily tragedy re­minded me of the Kahui case.

They were the sis­ters of Ian Crutch­ley, the 49-year-old from Tau­marunui con­victed of the at­tempted mur­der of his mother.

She died af­ter he gave her an over­dose of mor­phine to end the ter­ri­ble pain of her ter­mi­nal can­cer.

The jury urged le­niency – which is more than the fam­ily got af­ter her death.

The sis­ters told how the po­lice im­me­di­ately closed off their mother’s hospi­tal room, la­belling it “a crime scene”, shut­ting them out from what would have been sig­nif­i­cant mo­ments at her bed­side.

And they spoke of their an­guish as po­lice in­ter­viewed them sev­eral times in the days be­fore and af­ter her funeral.

Con­trast this with po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness gone crazy when the Kahui whanau in­voked what was de­scribed as “the mys­ti­cal realm of the tangi” in the weeks which fol­lowed the killing of the Kahui twins.

The fam­ily group, the staunch, self-styled “Tight 12”, re­fused to give any in­for­ma­tion to the in­ves­ti­ga­tors at that stage and later.

Po­lice talked openly and un­der­stand­ably of be­ing stonewalled by this im­pen­e­tra­ble si­lence at a sig­nif­i­cant time in their in­quiries.

The ob­vi­ous im­pli­ca­tion is that the death of Mrs Crutch­ley was some­how less “mys­ti­cal” and the process of mourn­ing less pre­cious for her fam­ily be­cause they hap­pen to be Pakeha – and that po­lice need to be­gin in­ves­ti­ga­tions as early as pos­si­ble varies ac­cord­ing to the eth­nic­ity of the vic­tims and sus­pects.

In one case, some­one guilty of mur­der, and oth­ers who pre­sum­ably knew of that guilt, gained valu­able breath­ing space not af­forded to the in­no­cent daugh­ters of a dead mother.

In a first re­ac­tion to the jury’s swift not­guilty ver­dict, the head of the Kahui in­ves­ti­ga­tion, de­tec­tive in­spec­tor John Tims, ap­peared to say the file was now closed.

Later Deputy Com­mis­sioner Rob Pope – him­self no stranger to dis­puted mur­der ver­dicts, hav­ing led the case against Scott Wat­son – seemed to wa­ter down what could have been an un­der­stand­able re­flex of a dev­as­tated man.

He said that the Kahui file was still open and that an ex­haus­tive de­brief on the po­lice in­quiry has been or­dered.

Chief Coro­ner Judge Neil McLean says he is study­ing whether an inquest is needed. That de­ci­sion shouldn’t take him long.

Those in high places should re­alise that the pub­lic – and He­len Clark – are wor­ried and an­gry at the out­come of the trial, that the great wave of com­mu­nity con­cern de­mands a for­mal pub­lic in­quiry into two bru­tal deaths which are so wor­ry­ingly un­ex­plained, and into the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion marked by those early and un­war­ranted PC con­sid­er­a­tions and fam­ily si­lence.

And the coun­try is unan­i­mous this case shouldn’t end in of­fi­cial po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect si­lence of an­other sort while some­one is get­ting away with mur­der.

William Tiseli of Pan­mure is con­cerned at im­pli­ca­tions he be­lieved he saw in the col­umn on the cost of the Ton­gan coro­na­tion, which ap­peared to him to link that spend­ing with child poverty in New Zealand.

“I think your ar­ti­cle is sim­i­lar to a dis­cus­sion pa­per by Dr G Cly­des­dale of Massey Uni on New Zealand im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy and its ef­fects.”

Not so: That col­umn dealt with three top­ics: 1) The Ton­gan coro­na­tion costs of $5 mil­lion or more – but not, it noted, any New Zealand aid money 2) The fact that New Zealand gives more than $11m a year in aid to Tonga but has not so far given a sim­i­lar and ur­gent aid pack­age to its own des­per­ate cit­i­zens and tax­pay­ers on the Chathams.

They face in­sur­mount­able liv­ing costs through their de­pen­dence on oil for trans­port and power, forc­ing 100 of an orig­i­nal 700 to mi­grate to the main­land in the past 18 months 3) That while the gov­ern­ment is also spend­ing more than a bil­lion on trains and he­li­copters – I could have added in new min­is­te­rial BMWs – it has not re­acted to the urg­ings of a spe­cial­ist re­port to spend big money on child poverty in New Zealand.

That was the stage that our com­put­erised age took over.

A row of stars which were in­tended to show a change of sub­ject be­tween the coro­na­tion is­sue and the wor­ries on child poverty was in the col­umn when it left my com­puter – but had dis­ap­peared by the time it went into print.

There is no link be­tween topic one and three, nor was one in­tended or ex­pected.

But there was a def­i­nite link and crit­i­cism in ref­er­ences to for­eign aid, the train-chop­per deals and con­cerns for the na­tion’s chil­dren.

That crit­i­cism is un­changed.

So William Tiseli is right: “Tonga’s King Ge­orge Tupou V’s coro­na­tion has noth­ing to do with child poverty here in New Zealand.”

His let­ter goes on: “I am a Ton­gan who mi­grated with my fam­ily, be­came a cit­i­zen, sent our five chil­dren to school – three grad­u­ated from univer­sity with­out any stu­dent loan, and two are still at school, all work, and pay taxes.

“Like all Pa­cific fam­i­lies, we mi­grate, strug­gle, and work very hard hop­ing our in­vest­ment will one day pay off.

“We Ton­gans highly trea­sure our cul­ture and val­ues.

“The coro­na­tion is a one-off event in a life­time for us with prob­a­bly sim­i­lar feel­ings to cit­i­zens of other coun­tries with a monar­chy.

“We love and take pride with dig­nity in our tra­di­tional cul­ture and val­ues.

“We look for­ward to re­turn and cel­e­brate to­gether with our fel­low Ton­gans, fam­i­lies, friends and our King Ge­orge Tupou V, on this im­por­tant oc­ca­sion.

“Ev­ery­one in Tonga knew that there would be ex­penses to host this one-off oc­ca­sion, and ev­ery­one re­spects oth­ers’ opin­ion be­cause they are free to ex­press their views as part of our val­ues.”

On for­eign aid: “From my ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing at the trea­sury, the gov­ern­ment is fully ac­count­able for ev­ery sin­gle penny or cent from aid funds.

“It also has a very clear and trans­par­ent process of us­ing aid money ac­cord­ing to the agreed pro­posal.

“I can guar­an­tee that not a sin­gle cent from any aid grant will be used for this event.”

As the col­umn said at the time.

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