Missed Opportunity for Restorative Justice in New Zealand Case |TODAY|
Submitted by dan. on 2007-09-05 21:01.
The chairman of Eastern Bay of Plenty Te Tina o Toi Tribal Service Providers, Tawhai Te Rupe, is frustrated that his Murupara-based community organisation has been rebuffed by the courts. And he is unhappy at the 18-month jail sentence imposed in the Rotorua District Court today on Shane Rurehe, whose two dogs attacked 56-year-old Virginia Ohlson in the forestry township in April.
Rurehe, a 43-year-old loader operator, had taken part in a whanau initiated restorative justice session at the Kaingaroa Marae shortly after the dog attack on his aunt.
Mr Te Rupe told NZPA the two families had met at a hui, where Rurehe had apologised to Ms Ohlson's family and wanted to set up an educational trust for her 15-year-old son, Jason.
The family did not want Rurehe to face prosecution.
However, at today's court hearing, Judge Weir wanted to know why the restorative justice programme he had ordered in July with Rotorua's Mana Social Services had not gone ahead.
It had unfortunately been "derailed", Rurehe's lawyer, Harry Edward, said.
His client had wanted to meet the victim's family "but he didn't want to do that in a contrived way".
Mr Edward added: "These people are not accustomed to the way the court operates. The people setting up the hui are naive."
He did not know if Mana Social Services had made contact with Rurehe.
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