McVicar emo­tional dur­ing visit

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - ABBY BROWN

‘‘I’m a farmer and we wouldn’t let an an­i­mal go through that.’’

That was Garth McVicar’s emo­tional ex­cla­ma­tion as he strug­gled to read the list of in­juries in­flicted on tod­dler Moko Ran­gi­to­heriri by his care­givers.

The Sen­si­ble Sen­tenc­ing Trust (SST) founder spoke at the Mata­mata RSA on June 15.

The au­di­ence might have only been made up of about 20 peo­ple, but there were many pas­sion­ate mur­murs of agree­ment and gasps of shock and frus­tra­tion as McVicar de­tailed the cases he had helped with.

SST was us­ing Moko’s case to run an 18 month cam­paign on ex­pos­ing and re­duc­ing the hor­rific level of abuse of chil­dren.

McVicar said his New Zealand wide ‘ Tour of Duty’, in be­tween com­plet­ing farm­ing du­ties, was both his way of thank­ing the public for their sup­port since the trust started in 2001 and also re­cruit­ing new mem­bers.

As part of his anti-child abuse cam­paign SST have or­gan­ised court house protests around New Zealand on June 27 at the same time Moko’s killers will be get­ting sen­tenced in the high Court in Ro­torua.

For McVicar it’s a case of his­tory re­peat­ing. The trust started with a court house protest against the pros­e­cu­tion of Mark Mid­dle­ton who was charged with threat­en­ing to kill the mur­derer of his step­daugh­ter, Karla Cardno in 2001.

Since then McVicar has be­come a go-to-man for fam­i­lies of vic­tims of rape and mur­der.

McVicar said he had been mo­ti­vated to start the trust af­ter his dad told him he had raised him to stand up for oth­ers.

‘‘I stopped turn­ing the pages of news­pa­pers and thinking it was some­one’s else prob­lem,’’ he said.

He said that the courts wanted to get cases done as quickly as pos­si­ble, which was why they pushed for plea bar­gains.

‘‘We chal­lenged this leg­is­la­tion in 2013 but couldn’t get trac­tion and couldn’t stop it.

‘‘Even some judges were con­tact­ing us and warn­ing us that this was go­ing to hap­pen- we didn’t know it would be Moko – but we knew it was go­ing to hap­pen.’’

The trust was al­ways push­ing for vic­tim-fo­cused leg­is­la­tion and laws that make the public in­formed about of­fend­ers. The march is be­ing co-or­di­nated through the Jus­tice for Moko Face­book page.

McVicar has be­come a go-to-man for fam­i­lies of vic­tims.

PHOTO: ABBY BROWN

Sen­si­ble Sen­tenc­ing Trust’s Garth McVicar’s Mata­mata stop on his Tour of Duty was heavy and emo­tive.

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