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