Why is someone getting away with murder?
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-yearold 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 after 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 mourning process less precious for her family because they are 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 not-guilty 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 changed.
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 oneoff 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 special and important occasion.”
He goes on: “Everyone in Tonga knew that there would be expenses to host this special one-off occasion, and everyone respects others’ opinion because they are free to express their views as part of our values and culture.”
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.