Raging over Losi Filipo

Losi Filipo was lucky to escape conviction for a brutal assault on four people.

Losi Filipo was unlucky to escape conviction for a brutal assault on four people because the furore that has erupted as a result has put a disproportional degree of publicity on what happened.

Late yesterday Filipo ended his rugby contract with the Wellington Lions, presumably to try and dampen things down.

He was in a hopeless situation anyway as if he had played there would have been a huge media distraction.

His playing future must be in doubt, as it is likely that any sign of violence is likely to be highlighted and amplified.

While he escaped a conviction and sentence from the court his public sentence is probably disproportionately severe. A fine and some community service would have probably been easier on him.

There’s a lot of violent crime in New Zealand and most of it escapes much if any scrutiny, it is normal life in New Zealand.

So Filipo is suffering more than normal, and that is likely to continue for some time, especially if he tries to play high level rugby again.

In a way this may seem disproportionately unfair.

But the violence he inflicted on four people was also very unfair. Many many New Zealanders are unfairly affected by violence. Many have their lives wrecked by violence.

So while Filipo may be effectively suffering greater consequences than the average thug  greater good may be served by his public sentence.

It has raised public awareness of the insidious effects of violence in our society.

What needs to happen now is a much better response from New Zealand Rugby. Many rugby players and lovers will be dismayed that their sport keeps getting tainted by thuggery.

The Rugby Union has to stand up here and do far more to distance the sport from thuggish violence. It has to lead on dealing with it, not flail in response to a string of embarrassments.

Filipo’s rugby career may have been trashed – largely due to his own actions – and his sport has been trashed with it.

But NZRFU could use this to make a real stand against violence, if the so choose.

They and the media and the people of New Zealand can stop raging over violence and do something about reducing it.

Discharged without conviction for 4x assault

I wonder how the pakeha versus brown justice debate will treat this story.

Stuff: Wellington rugby player discharged without conviction

Wellington rugby player Losi Filipo was discharged without conviction following the assault of four people, including two women.

Police charged Filipo with assault with intent to injure, two counts of male assaults female, and injures with intent to injure following the incident.

However, Newshub said the judge opted to give Filipo a chance despite the charges demanding a starting point of at least one-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.

The Judge ruled Filipo should be able to fulfil his potential, saying  “I have to ask myself are the courts in the business of destroying people’s career prospects?”, Newshub reported.

This is not long after the much discussed case of a ‘rich white person’ who was convicted – see The Delegat sentence.

The Wellington Lions player is continuing to play for the Wellington Rugby Union after he was discharged without conviction over the assault of Greg Morgan and his three friends.

Morgan, 21, said the assault happened in October at about 3am on Wellington’s Wakefield St.

“We heard footsteps running up behind us and it was three guys looking for a fight. We repeatedly told them we didn’t want to fight and to just let us go to our car which was around the corner.

“And that’s when it started, I don’t remember much but I do remember being smashed on the ground and my head being stomped on.”

Morgan said he had a potential contract with Wellington Rugby, but following the assault he was told he could never play rugby again.

He was devastated to see the guy who took away his dream go without punishment.

“We had the same potential and it doesn’t feel right that I’m still dealing with migraines and fatigue, and he is enjoying playing rugby.”

“It’s still affecting my work and put a big dent in my builders apprenticeship.

“I feel he should have got some jail time because he’s a ticking time bomb and if he does it again he might kill someone.”

I presume this was a ‘first offence’ for Filipo that went before the Court.

But there was a white male who have Filipo a character reference – the mayor of Upper Hutt.

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy wrote a character reference helping a promising rugby player to be discharged without conviction for a brutal assault.

Guppy declined to say who had asked him to write the reference for Filipo, but said he did not speak with the rugby player himself at any time.

I don’t know if the timing will help Guppy’s re-election chances.

Lawyer disputes criticism of Delegat sentence

A Dunedin barrister has that the sentence given to Nikolas Delegat for assaulting a police officer was ”entirely consistent” for the type of offence.

ODT: Claim Delegat got rich person’s justice disputed has a mixed response from  New Zealand Police Association president Greg O’Connor who said…

…if Delegat had been from the ”other end of the socio-economic scale”, the sentence would have included jail time, or something closer to it.

A ”high-powered lawyer” could help someone get a lighter sentence, he said.

The sentence had caused ”general disquiet” among some police officers in Dunedin, especially given the severity of injuries sustained by Const Kane.

However, Judge Kevin Phillips needed to be commended for resisting the ”considerable pressure” to grant name suppression and discharge without conviction, Mr O’Connor said.

But Dunedin barrister Anne Stevens said…

…the claim Delegat had bought justice was ”outrageous”.

She had been a lawyer for 29 years and the sentence was ”entirely consistent” for the type of offence, committed by someone with no previous convictions and otherwise good character, and who had pleaded guilty.

”It’s nothing to do with his parents’ wealth, it’s nothing to do with the colour of his skin; it’s to do with his culpability and his character.”

The conviction was a ”serious outcome”, Mrs Stevens said.

”He wants to sail in other parts of the world and it will be a big burden for him.”

The sentence had nothing to do with Delegat’s choice of lawyer, she said.

”Any number of lawyers in Dunedin would have achieved the same result … some of them, I dare say, would have got a discharge.”

Judges take many things into account when sentencing and they know much more than the average public pundit. I think this case would have been very carefully considered by Judge Phillips given that Delegat was represented by an out of town lawyer (from Auckland).

This sentence may or may not be tested under appeal.

But it’s probably too late to appeal for reasoned and well informed discussion of this case.

Delegat apology but will consider appeal

The Delegat family issued a statement of apology on behalf of Nikolas Delegat to NZ Herald. This is included in an ODT article Rich-lister’s son apologises

In a statement released to the Herald on behalf of the Delegat family, Nikolas Delegat apologised for the harm he has caused.

“Nikolas takes full responsibility for his actions that night,” it says.

“He attended a restorative justice conference where he expressed his remorse, and he again apologises to the police officer, university security guard and all others concerned.

“Nikolas was in the first two month of his university study away from home in Dunedin.

“He made a bad decision in the heat of the moment which caused considerable harm to those affected, which he regrets.

“He also apologises to his family and those around him for the trouble he has caused them.”

But Delegat’s lawyer Mark Ryan said that an appeal against the conviction and sentence (he sought a discharge without conviction).

However, Mr Ryan confirmed Delegat, his family and legal team had an “open mind” about the possibility of appealing the sentence and conviction.

“I can’t rule that out,” he told the Otago Daily Times after the hearing. “It’s something that we’ll consider. `I will discuss it with my client and his family and see which way we go on that.”

While the sentence seems relatively light given the seriousness of the assault…

Delegat was sentenced to 300 hours community work for the police assault, 100 hours for assaulting a campus watch officer, 60 hours for wilful damage, and 60 hours for resisting arrest. He has also been ordered to pay $5000 emotional harm reparation to the police officer he punched.

…the impact of the conviction could be significant:

His lawyer said a conviction would prevent Delegat from becoming a licensed authorised financial adviser under the Financial Markets Authority – a career which he was pursuing – and from entering the United States to compete in yacht races.

But Judge Kevin Phillips rejected that due to the impact the attack had on Constable Kane…

…resulting in 15 hours of hospital treatment, several weeks off-duty, months of recuperation and ongoing issues with headaches. Kane is still being helped by colleagues on her road back to work, 18 months after the attack.

`Tell me about his financial position,” Judge Phillips said to Mr Ryan.

“He’s able to pay a fine,” Mr Ryan responded.

“I’m not talking about a fine. I’m talking about emotional harm reparation. This has almost destroyed her life,” the judge said.

Alcohol was involved, as it is in a lot of violent crime. But alcohol can’t excuse this sort of violence:

Judge Phillips said Delegat punched Const Kane with enough force to “render that officer into a state of unconsciousness”.

“[He] then punched her another three or four times … all aimed at the head,” he said.

The other responding officer, Constable Keith Early, described the violence of the assault in evidential briefs referenced by Judge Phillips, saying Delegat was “absolutely smashing her”.

For someone to react that viciously, whether drunk or not, there must have been some underlying tendency towards reactive violence. Many people who get drunk don’t get violent, but far too many do.

Delegat may have “made a bad decision in the heat of the moment”, and that may impact on his life significantly from now on, but his actions have also had a serious immediate and ongoing impact on the person he attacked, and could have easily been much worse due to his recklessness and viciousness.

Unfortunately this sort of violence and damage to people’s health and well being is common. This is just one case that happens to have received a lot of publicity and criticism, but violent crime goes through the courts day after day, week after week, year after year.

Something must change. Many people’s behaviour must change, and many more people’s attitude to violence must change. Same with alcohol use and abuse.

We are all a part of a far too violent society. Grizzling about the occasional case that gets media attention isn’t enough.

Here on Your NZ we can all do something about it, by not reacting badly to issues or people we disagree with, by not proposing or portraying violence as if it is acceptable, by not posting personal attacks (which can amount to a form of online violence), and by confronting violent behaviour – not with violent responses, but reminding of the need for respect of others and  the need for responsible behaviour.

And by setting an appropriate non-violent, non threatening example. We all have a part to play in this forum and in our society.

Nikolas Delegat and Constable Kane have had their lives significantly affected a few moments of deplorable violence. We can all learn from the resulting publicity.

The Delegat sentence

A lot has been said about the Nikolas Delegat sentence for assaulting a police officer and campus watch officer.

Most seem to think the non-custodial was inadequate, but not everyone (and I’m not convinced either way).

To his credit the judge turned down name suppression, but that may backfire as the publicity and uproar could be seen as disproportional exposure.

There’s no doubt that money buys a better legal defence but there is no way of limiting how much someone can defend themselves, and there’s no way the State can provide unlimited legal aid.

RNZ: Police unhappy with son of wine magnate’s sentence

Nikolas Delegat, 19, the son of Jim Delegat, was yesterday sentenced to 300 hours of community work and a $5000 compensation payment.

The former Otago University student had been drinking heavily in March last year in Dunedin, when he got angry, and assaulted a campus watch officer.

He then punched a police officer four times in the head as she tried to restrain him.

At the sentencing yesterday, the court was told there were mitigating factors including mental health problems, and that Delegat had since undertaken rehabilitation and given up alcohol.

There’s no doubt it was a serious assault that warranted a conviction. I’m not so sure that a prison sentence would have achieved anything apart from satisfying the baying crowd.

The police who prosecuted can’t comment as this could go to appeal – in fact the police could appeal if they feel the sentence is to lenient.

The police were not commenting on the sentence given to the teenager.

Otago Coastal area commander Inspector Kelvin Lloyd issued a statement saying Constable Alana Kane, who Delegat had punched, was very grateful for the support and concern that members of the public had expressed to her.

Mr Lloyd said neither she nor the police would comment on the severity of Delegat’s sentence, nor the Police Association’s view the sentence looked too light.

But the Police Association is unhappy:

Police Association president Greg O’Connor said Delegat was represented by a top Auckland lawyer and got better treatment than other offenders.

“If the same person had been at the other end of the, shall we say, social-economic scale, and maybe poor or Polynesian or from another part of the city or the country, they probably would’ve been unlikely to have got the same consideration.”

That’s possible but contentious. And a defence lawyer has a different opinion:

One experienced defence lawyer, Grant Tyrrell, said 300 hours of community work was not a light sentence for a first assault offence.

The maximum sentence would have been 400 hours of community work, the Christchurch-based lawyer said.

“In a first offence, a community-based sentence would probably be the expected sentence.

“That’s not to undermine the seriousness of the incident but there’s a number of factors the court has to take into account, and a 300-hour community work sentence – it’s three quarters of the maximum, it’s a big sentence.”

It would be unwise to rush to judgement without knowing all the facts considered by the judge, he said.

Too late, many including media have rushed to judgement already.

I don’t know enough about comparable cases and sentences, but I am happy to question whether the sentence was severe enough, but also to question whether a prison sentence would have achieved anything but satisfy those who rush to judgement.

One thing I will predict is that defence lawyers (for defendants who can afford them) will try to use this as justification for name suppression.

Most drunken violence gets nothing like this exposure.

Seconds of violence, years of prison

Cowardly attacks seem to be prominent in the news at the moment. Sometimes referred to as ‘king hits’ vicious unprovoked attacks are gutless and dangerous.

Consequences can be severe, both for the victims and for the thugs.

Some assaults result in death, many result in months or years of suffering and hardship for the victims.

So the repercussions for the attackers must be severe, whether it is a result of a few seconds of drunken stupidity or not. A drunken thug is still a thug.

Yet another example via the ODT: Jailed for 10-second assault

Ten seconds was all it took to change two lives forever.

An 18-year-old, filmed on CCTV in an unprovoked, violent assault on a man he had rendered unconscious, was sentenced yesterday to three years and nine months in jail.

Six months after the attack, the 43-year-old victim is still feeling the effects, and is nervous about going out at night, the Alexandra District Court was told.

Niko William Vernon Reid-Manuel (18), of Cromwell, appeared in court for sentencing on charges of causing grievous bodily harm to Gareth Owen Wynn on February 27 at Cromwell, with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He was also charged with stealing Mr Wynn’s $15 sunglasses after the assault.

Judge Kevin Phillips said Reid-Manuel attacked the victim when the man was lying on the ground, unconscious.

The defendant had punched the victim hard on the jaw and Mr Wynn fell to the ground unconscious “in what would probably be described by a television programme as similar to a king hit”, Judge Phillips said.

Following that blow, CCTV footage showed a short period of time – 10 seconds – of “extreme violence” Reid-Manuel had inflicted on the unconscious man.

“You went out of your way to inflict serious injury. You attacked the victim’s head and attacked him when he was out cold.

“… he received several punches to his head and body; he could not offer any defence of his body whatsoever. You moved off and then came back and kicked his head. You returned and then took the sunglasses.”

The victim received fractures to his cheekbone, nose, jaw, eye socket and ribs and numerous cuts and abrasions, Judge Phillips said.

“This type of street violence, unprovoked, gratuitous type of violence, has to be strongly denounced.”

An unprovoked punch is bad enough, but continuing to assault an unconscious person is despicable.

Crown counsel Craig Power said it was a “short but extremely violent attack”.

“It’s very important to state the significant effect this had on the victim. He lost his job, has ongoing effects from broken ribs, and is extremely cautious and wary about going out at night. … he didn’t do anything to start this dispute,” Mr Power said.

The pre-sentence report said the defendant showed little remorse or empathy.

Not just gutless, also remorseless.

Counsel Russell Checketts said Reid-Manuel was a first offender.

The defendant had been in a fight before this one and “came off the worst” and was concerned the same thing would happen again, Mr Checketts said. He accepted the victim’s injuries were serious but said fortunately the victim did not require any surgery and was not permanently disabled.

Lawyers have to try something but that is a very lame defence. Trying to play down the severity if the viciousness ignores the facts.

About the only fortunate thing is that Reid-Manuel wasn’t facing manslaughter charges – fortunate for the victim.

This sort of violence must be learned somewhere. It is a major stain on New Zealand society.

Abuse problem in the music industry

A few weeks ago The Spinoff exposed claims about “how a prominent New Zealand music identity conducted a troubling series of relationships with young women, including girls as young as 12” – ‘I will come forward’.

Today in the Herald Lizzie Marvelly writes ‘The music industry has a problem’

The man who’d just molested me spent the next half hour interrupting our conversation, trying to coax me into sitting on his knee. I left the party.

This was just one of a number of examples of her personal experience that Marvelly detailed.

The music industry has a problem.

A problem I’ve been too scared to talk about. Recent events, however, here and overseas, have shown me that I need to join the voices that have come before me to help to shine a light on the culture of sexual harassment that infects our industry like a cancer.

People in the music industry, mostly many, have substantial power over the future prospects of artists.

New artists, especially female artists, are keen to get somewhere, are usually quite young, and are very vulnerable to abuse of power and straight out abuse.

Claims by Marvelly and others add weight to claims that some many have been abusing this power in abusing women.

Statistically, the industry is still dominated by men.

Men decide whether or not your song gets played on radio. They decide whether they’ll promote your tour. They decide who gets a record deal, who plays a festival, and even who receives a New Zealand On Air grant.

Over the last five rounds of music funding, only eight women have served on the panel tasked with deciding which songs to fund. Compared to 21 men.

And even when women do call the shots, as a woman in the industry it’s hard to speak up.

Especially when the people doing the abusing are your friends. It’s much easier to stay quiet. I know. I’ve kept my mouth shut for years.

But that culture of silence enables abusers to prey on their victims with impunity.

Enough is enough. It’s time for us to say, loud and clear, this has to stop.

The best place to start may be for men and women in the music industry who are not involved in abuse to speak up in support of those who claim abuse and speak up in support of cleaning up the music industry.

And it’s especially important for those who have witnessed abuse to stop remaining silent.

Solutions to violence and alcohol

Further to Drunken thuggery not alcohol’s fault  anthropologist Anne Fox makes some suggestions about how to address a culture of alcohol related violence in New Zealand.

Fox’s paper includes a raft of recommendations.

The first is that we should stop focusing on “alcohol-fuelled violence” and address what she calls cultural reinforcers of violence, such as aggressive masculinity.

A cultural shift can be achieved, she says, by recognising that individuals are in control of their own behaviour and should face consequences, such as social stigma and heavy penalties, for transgressions.

Fox also suggests we should de-emphasise consumption of alcohol for its own sake and refocus on entertainment and group conviviality. She urges better drinking environments, with higher ratios of females (both staff and patrons), a wider range of ages (violence is less likely in mixed-age groups) and a clear message that bad behaviour will not be tolerated. She was alarmed at the number of bars and clubs in New Zealand and Australia that served people who were clearly drunk.

She is also an advocate of consistent, visible policing (she found that police are more effective on foot than in patrol cars) and clear penalties for bad behaviour.

In the New South Wales city of Newcastle, Fox notes, police show little tolerance for bad behaviour and young people are well aware that infringements, such as sexual harassment or urinating in public, will earn them a heavy and immediate fine.

Safe, well-managed 24-hour food outlets are important too, she says, as is adequate transport out of the entertainment districts of large cities.

Fox suggests that even language can be used to change harmful concepts of masculinity and to indicate social disapproval of violent behaviour. In Australia the term “king hit”, meaning a powerful blow delivered without warning, has been rebranded in the media as the “coward’s punch” following a series of highly publicised king hit-related deaths and injuries. The long-term effectiveness of this change in terminology has yet to be measured but Fox calls it a step in the right direction.

She is especially emphatic about the need for better alcohol education. Young New Zealanders and Australians appear to know very little of the basic facts about alcohol, she says. Effective programmes should offer a balanced portrayal of both the negative and positive aspects of consumption and provide unbiased information about alcohol’s real effects.

Scare tactics don’t work and can even be counter-productive, she insists. “The element of risk is, for many young people, an added attraction to drug-taking or binge drinking.”

Establishing a culture that uses peer pressure to oppose and condemn all violence including attempts to use alcohol as an excuse for thuggish behaviour can be done.

We managed to change the New Zealand culture on drink driving where it is now seen as unacceptable by most people and frowned on socially, because it was a serious risk to the safety of innocent people.

Person perpetrated violence via fists and boots isn’t much different to person perpetrated violence via vehicle, except that those who use fists and boots do so very deliberately. We should be more appalled and more determined to change our culture around alcohol and violence.

Most of us already abhor violence in most situations. But we can do more to speak up against it to make it clear that whether using alcohol as an excuse or not thuggery is socially unacceptable in New Zealand.

So seeing a blog describing itself New Zealand’s biggest and best make excuses for socially abhorrent behaviour – see Victim blaming and excusing thuggery – is very disappointing.

Responses to victim blaming

Following up from Victim blaming and excusing thuggery  here are contrary responses allowed on a Whale Oil post that criticised a victim blaming post that has many comments that doubt the victim and excuse the attack.

Responses to the criticisms continue to blame the victim and make excuses for the attacker.

SaggyNaggy:

I’m not sure what she was expected to say to a man who ought to have minded his own business. He objected to her speaking Maori. The headline is valid.

By the way, calling an assault victim a crybaby? How lovely.

Mike:

Nothing… She should of said nothing.

SaggyNaggy:

…and he should have taken her advice, but he didn’t – instead he hit her. It would be nice if we all had the discipline not to respond to people who are having a go, wouldn’t it? I suspect most of us aren’t like that though. Most of us would probably say the same thing she said. She did absolutely nothing wrong, and I don’t think she should get blamed for what happened, or called a crybaby on a blog afterwards.

Mike:

Where is your outcry about the other hundred or so violent offenses that occurred over the weekend then?

gender should not factor into the determination of whether something is acceptable or not. Violence is violence and is never acceptable.

SaggyNaggy:

Whale Oil didn’t blog about any of those. I commented on the one he did blog about. But just for you, I would like to take this opportunity, at this time, to condemn ALL the violence. Everywhere. All of it. I would like world peace, harmony, and understanding between people of different genders, races and faiths. Kumbaya!

Mike:

That’s a nice dream. You do realize however that it will never become a reality because it’s against human nature.

You sir are a sheep. There will always be wolves who wish to prey on sheep. And I hope there will always be sheep dogs to protect you.

Sheep abhor violence. 
Wolves love violence. 
Sheep dogs accept violence as a necessary reality.

SaggyNaggy:

Yeah, a drunk, violent PI says something stupid to someone he thinks is a “palagi”, gets called out, and responds with his fists. Happens every day, sadly.

Luke:

“Gets called out”, telling someone to f off inevitably leads to confrontation. Why should anyone (including a woman) think they can say that to a big guy and get away with it?

SaggyNaggy:

Because it’s not normal, legal or acceptable to punch somebody, especially if you are harassing them about something they said, and the civilized thing to do IS in fact to “f off” and mind your own business.

Luke:

Yes key the word you used was ‘civilized’. My advice don’t ever tell someone to f off just in case they are an uncivilized thug.

SaggyNaggy:

I don’t make excuses for uncivilized thugs. I want them out of our civilization. Victim blaming, and making excuses for these guys will ensure that he, and others like him, will keep thinking it’s okay to respond that way.

Luke:

Victim blaming? If I wore an offensive t-shirt, something really derogatory about Maori and was beaten up. Wouldn’t I have to take at least some responsibility? The woman was a fool, she should have walked away because as much as you might wish it, thugs are everywhere and not going away.

Jaundiced:

No-one’s making excuses here. No-one thinks its OK to respond as he did. With the benefit of hind-site, and a clear head, what some are saying is that what happened was kind of inevitable. That doesn’t change the fact that the person responsible was the one who used his fists.

Usually this sort of behaviour is inflamed by alcohol. And in some cases, its perfectly normal sober behaviour. Either way, my sympathy in this case is for the woman. How would any of us react when some PI abuses you for speaking your language because you’re (in his eyes) the wrong colour? Unless you believe telling someone what she said, means she ‘deserves’ what happened.

Mrs R:

Two stories appear today on WO with surprising similarities. One, we see a young man out on the town who became the victim of late night physical abuse (see earlier story ‘Another criminal Labour can cuddle’). Did this teenager also verbally respond to his abusers before he was punched to death? Irrelevant. He was the victim, and the mother in me cries for his family’s loss.

Here we see another story with a late night victim who was subjected to physical abuse. Whether or not she responded verbally to her abuser is irrelevant. There should be no ‘but’. She was brutally attacked simply because her abuser wanted to, and he could.

To my knowledge WO has never been a crim hugger so I’m surprised at the tone of this article, particularly in light of the previous article where Kelvin Davis is scorned for doing exactly that.

Spanish Bride:

The man is totally in the wrong.No one should be hit like that no matter what they say and this was incredibly violent to knock out her teeth. He is going to punished by the law so no problem there. If he was going to be let off or not punished adequately then there is a reason to complain.

I guess the point this article was trying to make is that the bar is not the reason the incident happened.Blaming the bar for not having enough security seems unfair. The story should not be about the bar but about the offender. Also the headline was misleading. He didn’t hit her when she spoke Maori, he hit her when she told him to f off after he verbally abused her.

goodwitheu:

This is gratuitous sledging and is very unfair on the woman who now through no fault of her own besides telling an obnoxious gorilla to **** off got badly assaulted. Now she also has to deal with a negative google result to her name with a photo of her and her innocent child courtesy of WO.

We don’t know if she was drunk, we don’t know much at all about what really happened. Not that it matters- Throw that gorilla in jail. Just ask yourself this- if this had happened to you and played out as it appears to have done here… how would you feel about appearing on WO’s CBOFTW…. Justice??

[As for going to the newspaper- well that was a bit silly, but we all deal with trauma and injustice in different ways- still doesn’t excuse WO from giving her an unnecessary beat up today]

Rex Widerstrom:

Precisely. The “punishment” in no way fitted the “crime”. In Australia they are calling this sort of Neanderthal behaviour a “coward’s punch” as a way to try and make it socially unacceptable, in the way that has – to some extent- worked with drink driving.

This post does the opposite. It’s a mealy-mouthed defence of a violent thug of the type WO would normally be baying for the blood of (hell that’s an awful sentence, but you know what I mean).

Her dad’s silly – it’s not the bar’s fault and we’re already grossly over-policed as it is – so by all means call him on that.

But victim blaming? That’s low.

Yes, there’s some low comments on a low post, but some good responses.

An assault revisited

A firearm related assault nearly a year ago, in late June 2014, came up in comments here and has prompted more of a look at it.

When searching around I came across this article, by David Fisher in NZ Herald last October.

Ex-pizza boss Matt Blomfield: Whaleoil and me

Matt Blomfield was beaten bloody. A shotgun blast ringing in his ears. Blows from the stock of the weapon splitting skin to send blood running down his face.

It was a horrifying attack at home. His children were watching. One stood at the window as her father grappled with the intruder. The other sought shelter in the house, seeking safety from the armed man who brought violence to their home.

Blomfield had fought off the attacker, fiercely enough that police later found blood from which they took DNA. A 37-year-old man was arrested in July and is before the courts.

He struggled to think who might want him hurt, or worse. In the end, he came up with a suspect list of 285,000 people – the monthly readership of the Whaleoil blog, who he believed had been given every reason to think he was one of the worst people in New Zealand.

There are very clear implications in that.

…you don’t have to be famous to become a target of Cameron Slater’s Whaleoil blog. Slater, who has previously called himself a “bully” in an interview with theHerald, lives by the motto “Never F*** With A Blogger”.

Anyone is considered fair game.

And in that. But there are only claims and implications, no evidence.

Martyn Bradbury also linked the assault with Slater when commenting on this story, in The things Whaleoil did to Matthew Blomfield & why haven’t Police chased his stolen emails the way they did for Slater?

Now this assault took place in 20 April 2014 and was reported by Bevan Hurkey at NZ Herald:

Death threats before attack

A businessman who suffered facial injuries during a vicious fight in his home with a masked gunman had received anonymous death threats prior to the incident.

Matthew Blomfield, 38, suffered facial injuries after being hit with a rifle and is understood to have narrowly avoided being shot when the gun went off during the terrifying ordeal last Saturday night.

The gunman, wearing a Spiderman mask, tried to gain access to Blomfield’s home, where his wife and two small children were, it is understood.

A police manhunt with armed officers failed to locate the offender. Forensics officers spent a day at the house searching for any DNA traces.

Several neighbours witnessed part of the attack. Blomfield was admitted to North Shore Hospital with facial injuries and was discharged on Sunday.

Blomfield said he had been advised by police not to comment.

But writing on blog site The Standard last year, he told how he and members of his family had received anonymous, violent threats. Blomfield, a former Hell Pizza advertising executive, launched defamation action against Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater for a series of posts written in 2012.

While Blomfield was “advised by police not to comment” somehow Hurley managed to bring Slater into the reckoning.

Then in July there was an arrest for this

Press Release: New Zealand Police

Wanted man Ned Tehuru PARAHA arrested and charged

Sunday, 13 July 2014 – 12:45pm

Waitemata

Police have this morning arrested and charged Ned Tehurua PARAHA, a wanted man Police have been looking for since late June, in relation to a home invasion.

The 37 year-old was arrested in central Auckland in the early hours of this morning.

Paraha’s image was circulated to media on Friday 27 June.

He has since been charged with aggravated burglary, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, assault with intent to injure and possession of methamphetamine and will appear in the Auckland District Court tomorrow.

I think it’s fairly uncommon for bloggers or blog commenters (people like us) to be involved in assaults of this type – I haven’t heard of any.

It’s common for druggies and gang members to be involved in assaults. David Fisher is a senior reporter and will have (or should have) researched this sort of detail and not just repeated allegations and insinuations fed to him, shouldn’t he?

Slater responded to Fisher’s article with some suggestions and accusations of his own about what sort of person might have have been involved in the assault in THE LIES BY OMISSION AND INFERENCE OF A TAINTED JOURNALIST [UPDATED].

My Police sources also tell me that this man is a Mongrel Mob associate and despite another person being named as the alleged attacker no evidence exists that proves that, nor do the police suspect that person and the naming of him is viewed as nothing but a vexatious complaint designed to hurt and malign. I don’t know about you guys but I suspect my readership is non-existent in Mongrel Mob circles.

Quite apart from the other simply wrong assertions, it is those ones, the ones that impinge the reputation of me, this site and the readers of this site by a lie of omission and then an inference is outrageous.

The fact that other blogs have spread this, has made their defamation worse

That does sound like Slater is justifiably annoyed. But it doesn’t rule out every possibility, especially when Slater’s wife recounts stories like this on Thursday in Spanish Bride reports back on decade of dirt:

Another speaker told an amusing tale about how Cameron worked with him doing debt collection from Gang members. He made the point that Cam is not just a guy being tough behind a computer screen he is actually just as fearless in real life.

But I can find no evidence at all that Slater was involved in the assault, nor does it seem likely.

Slater added to his October post:

UPDATED: Matthew Blomfield has asked me to remove the details of the person who came to his property from the Whaleoil website. He has a young family and is concerned that associates and family members of this person will read the post.

Mr Blomfield also said that “He has no evidence that Mr Slater was involved in the attack at his home and that he made that very clear to David Fisher”

Matthew can correct me if that’s wrong.

If Blomfield correct then it looks like Fisher has been dishonest and vindictive – and he can correct me if this inaccurately represents what happened, but he must have ultimate responsibility for the accuracy of his article, and in this case it looks sloppy at best.

This also raises questions about why a gang member involved with drugs might have been assaulting Blomfield.