Filipo sentenced

Losi Filipo chose to plead guilty again and was sentenced today.

Stuff: Rugby player Losi Filipo ordered to do counselling under supervision sentence

Filipo’s earlier discharge without conviction on assault charges was overturned after an appeal by police, and he re-appeared on the charges in the High Court at Wellington on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old former Wellington Lions player maintained his guilty plea and asked to be sentenced immediately.

He was sentenced to nine months’ supervision for assaulting four people, including two women, and has been ordered to attend alcohol counselling, and a course on living without violence. 

In court, Justice David Collins had said the stomping on one victim’s head was “a chilling act of violence that could easily have led to his death”.

In the attack in central Wellington in October last year, Filipo grabbed his first victim, Greg Morgan, by the collar, punched him towards his head, knocking him unconscious. While Morgan was on the ground, he stomped on him about four times, causing injuries including concussion, grazing and bruising.

I think this is a reasonable outcome.

Punching someone and knocking them unconscious is bad enough, but then stomping on their head is despicable and very dangerous. and he went on to assault three other people. The original discharge was inadequate.

The judge took a starting point of two years’ jail and discounted for Filipo’s guilty plea, his youth, lack of previous convictions and the efforts he made after the incident with counselling, saving to pay reparation, doing community work and offering to apologise.

It makes sense to keep him out of prison providing he does the course and counselling properly.

There has to be a clear message that mindless violence should have consequences for the perpetrator – it can severely injury or kill victims.

I think that if Filipo offends violently again in the future he should expect a prison sentence.

But Madeleine Chapman at The Spinoff had a different view of the outcome – The conviction of teenager Losi Filipo is nothing to celebrate.

Congratulations, New Zealand. The court of public opinion has outdone any mere judge, delivering a punishment that reeks of knee-jerk outrage and lazy prejudice, writes Madeleine Chapman.

Losi Filipo was today re-sentenced to nine months’ supervision and counselling for assault. After being discharged without conviction earlier this year, the victims spoke out to the media and shared their side of the story. The public were outraged, threatening to boycott Wellington Rugby for allowing Filipo to remain in the programme, and calling for the sentencing to be appealed.

Wellington Rugby buckled, terminating Filipo’s contract, and the sentencing was overturned. Now Filipo has a conviction, no career, and few prospects given his name conjures up feelings of moral outrage, not to mention the google search nightmare which will forever be associated with it. Justice has finally been served, right?

What absolute bullshit.

I think the bullshit is in this article.

I think that Filipo stepped down from his contract. It’s unknown whether he will have a future career in rugby or not.

The original decision was appealed by the police, not the public. A judge considered things knowing there was a lot of public interest, and decided a discharge was the wrong decision.

The purpose of our justice system is to allow those who have in-depth knowledge of a case to make decisions on offenders based on countless mitigating factors. When someone is charged with an offence, they enter into the legal system and some time later, they exit the system with or without a conviction.

In that time, that all important time, a lot of things happen. Trials are undertaken, counsellors are met, references are consulted, and future repercussions are considered. Losi Filipo entered the justice system, went through all the relevant processes, cooperated fully, accepted his fault, committed to restorative justice, and was discharged without conviction.

That should be the end of the story. That is the justice system working.

No it shouldn’t be the end of the story, Sometimes judges get things wrong. That’s why we have an appeal system, so when questionable court decisions are made they can be tested further.

If he had been given nine months’ supervision and ordered to attend counselling the first time through the justice system, Filipo might strangely be in a better position than he is today. Because apparently an assault conviction isn’t as career-ending as his first judge thought.

That contradicts something she said earlier.

The Losi Filipo case has proven that more often than not, outrageous moral high ground comes before reason and way before compassion. A young man committed an offence, expressed remorse, attempted restorative justice, and was given a chance to be a positive influence in society. That same young man is now a convicted criminal, a known hated face and name without any apparent clear purpose in life, for the near future at least.

This is one case the appeal court found that the first judge got wrong, it’s ridiculous to claim “more often than not, outrageous moral high ground comes before reason” based on that alone.

Compassion resulted in Filipo avoiding a prison sentence despite committing a crime that was devoid of compassion.

Congratulations, New Zealand. You got what you wanted.

Yes, the justice system working as it was designed, able to correct things when poor decisions are made by judges, and able to make it clear that dangerous thuggery should not be let go without reasonable consequences.

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23 Comments

  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  2nd November 2016

    I’ll be interested to see what the anti-police brigade say to this.

    Reply
  2. patupaiarehe

     /  2nd November 2016

    Supervision is still just a slap on the wrist. See a probation officer once a week, and tell them what a good boy he has been…

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  2nd November 2016

      Not really. that would be pointless. There are degrees of supervision; I have just googled it.

      Reply
      • patupaiarehe

         /  2nd November 2016

        Well I have been sentenced to it Kitty, so I suspect I am better qualified to judge the severity of it than you!

        Reply
        • patupaiarehe

           /  2nd November 2016

          It is a bit like being sentenced to counselling, except anything you say is not in confidence. And with a good behaviour bond attached, because if you come before the court again whilst under supervision, your probation officer has to write a report for the judge…
          It works well for someone who wants to change/behave. IMHO Mr Filipo should be given the benefit of the doubt, until he proves otherwise. I am sure he is aware that he won’t get supervision, if there is a next time…

          Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  3rd November 2016

          Not necessarily-you know about your own case, not every variation thereon. You may well have escaped lightly, not everyone does.I was in a serious road crash, but I don’t judge all serious crashes by mine and think that they are identical.

          Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  2nd November 2016

    Seems to be a fairly marginal sentencing misjudgement. A $1000 reparation and discharge vs conviction and nine months supervision.

    Reply
  4. Klik Bate

     /  2nd November 2016

    It was a chance to send a message to violent scum like this! He should have been locked up for 2 years minimum. ‘SUPERVISION’ – WHAT A JOKE!!

    Another weak sentence that will ensure this type of thuggery remains unchecked. Why would the Police ever bother appealing a sentence again?

    Reply
    • patupaiarehe

       /  2nd November 2016

      Well KB, unless Mr Filipo is both deaf & blind, & doesn’t watch TV or read news on the internet, I suspect he has got the message by now. Would you, as a taxpayer, prefer to pay $90k to keep him in prison for a year, or take the less expensive option, seeing as how he has expressed remorse which seems sincere?

      Reply
      • Klik Bate

         /  2nd November 2016

        The thing is patu, there are people loose in society today, for whom this transition is often only ‘one beer away’…..

        I would consider 90k a year to keep them where they belong, as being money well spent.

        Reply
        • patupaiarehe

           /  2nd November 2016

          I am well aware of this KB, and as I have said earlier about Mr Filipo, compulsory medication (Disulfuram) would remove the risk completely. Unfortunately, this is considered a violation of his rights, unless he agrees to it.

          Reply
          • Klik Bate

             /  2nd November 2016

            Therein lies the problem patu – the ‘offenders’ rights are always paramount. The ‘victims’ rights are never taken into consideration. I fear every time I hear my beautiful 19 year old grand daughter has headed into the city for a night out :/

            IMO – lock ALL the violent bastards up.

            Reply
            • patupaiarehe

               /  2nd November 2016

              Problem is KB, you have to eventually release them…

            • Klik Bate

               /  2nd November 2016

              But we’re doing that even BEFORE we lock them up! No wonder this country has become a free-range asylum…..

            • patupaiarehe

               /  2nd November 2016

              Hardly KB, in this particular case, EVERYONE knows what he looks like. Especially the family members of his victims…

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  2nd November 2016

      I think we can assume from the minor difference between the appeal and original sentences that these span the range of options for this offence given the circumstances and the sentencing law. I doubt that two years in jail would be likely to make Filipo less likely to offend than his current sentence and may well do the reverse. The desire to punish does have to be balanced against the need to rehabilitate rather than destruct for a young offender.

      Reply
  5. duperez

     /  2nd November 2016

    I expected that some would be upset if there was to be no public hanging. The final sentence is not much more “severe” than the initial one, looking at it in those terms.

    The loud hysterical lot though, satisfied, thinking they’d been heard, are now busy doing other things. Too busy to notice that a “gentle” sensible sentence has been imposed.

    Reply
    • patupaiarehe

       /  2nd November 2016

      Yes duparez, it is both gentle & sensible, and I am sure Mr Filipo is well aware of this.

      Reply
      • Klik Bate

         /  2nd November 2016

        I don’t think you can be sure of that patu. In your initial response to my earlier post, you stated, “……unless Mr Filipo is both deaf and blind”. You left out ‘dumb’ 😎

        Reply
        • patupaiarehe

           /  2nd November 2016

          I don’t know all the facts KB, like I said earlier, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt.

          Reply
          • Klik Bate

             /  2nd November 2016

            Something I would never do patu. I read the ‘summary of facts’ in the court judgement.

            Reply
            • patupaiarehe

               /  2nd November 2016

              Yup, I read that too KB. And if he hadn’t expressed what looks to me like genuine remorse, I would be on the same page as you. Put the bastard in the stocks, arm his victims with baseball bats, and give them all 5 minutes alone, with no consequences…
              The thing is, if that scenario ever actually happened, I don’t think any of his victims would actually physically harm him, given the opportunity.

            • Klik Bate

               /  3rd November 2016

              I believe you’re right there patu. The ‘victims’ in this case, are the type of people who would never even think of doing such a thing.

              Have a good night patu.

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