Judged too harshly

LETTER

I am writing from Christchurch Women’s Prison in regards to being sentenced to two years and six months in jail by Judge Warren Cathcart, who has sent me here for a second-time burglary charge. He has also sentenced my co-offender, who had absolutely nothing to do with the charge, to two years and one month. He has let out people who violate their partners and innocent citizens. We are taking our cases to Wellington High Court as he has given us manifestly excessive sentences.

As Justice Minister Andrew Little is fighting to keep low-level offenders out of prison, this kind of sentencing in Gisborne is contributing to New Zealand prisons being full. I also met another girl who was jailed despite a low offending history.

Because of this, I along with others will be doing everything in our power to stop this, as it is giving our beautiful hometown a bad name.

This issue needs to be heard by the public. I would like to hear other opinions.

TeRina McClutchie

I am writing from Christchurch Women’s Prison in regards to being sentenced to two years and six months in jail by Judge Warren Cathcart, who has sent me here for a second-time burglary charge. He has also sentenced my co-offender, who had absolutely nothing to do with the charge, to two years and one month. He has let out people who violate their partners and innocent citizens. We are taking our cases to Wellington High Court as he has given us manifestly excessive sentences.

As Justice Minister Andrew Little is fighting to keep low-level offenders out of prison, this kind of sentencing in Gisborne is contributing to New Zealand prisons being full. I also met another girl who was jailed despite a low offending history.

Because of this, I along with others will be doing everything in our power to stop this, as it is giving our beautiful hometown a bad name.

This issue needs to be heard by the public. I would like to hear other opinions.

TeRina McClutchie

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DT - 3 months ago
Do the crime, do the time. A bit of a reality check for you TeRina - what's keeping NZ's prisons full is recidivist thieves like you who don't learn their lesson the first time. Judge Cathcart needs commending for keeping you away from our property, albeit too briefly.
It is you and your co-offender who are damaging Gisborne's reputation and I can only hope the High Court can see that. For every crime you've been caught for, I wonder how many you got away with.

Murray Palmer - 3 months ago
Kia ora Te Rina. I am proud to be godson to our shared taonga tangata tane. You have been working in corrections in Oz for several years, and my understanding is that you have a good understanding of the contexts around the internment of indigenous people there. You have also always been an advocate for social justice and the application of tikanga Maori in Te Tairawhiti. Indeed, I have hands-on participated with you in ensuring that the owners of leased lands were provided with some assurance that they would be provided with at least the basic conditions of their lease arrangements.
As you have described this situation Te Rina, the judge's decision/s might easily be seen as a travesty of justice, and as you similarly and correctly identify, as providing for an ongoing source of vulnerable inmates - fuelling a privatised, marginalising, abusive and excessively expensive incarceration system. For who's benefit?
Let's hope we can work together on your and whanau incarcerations ASAP, and provide best options for these and our most marginalised communities moving forward. Nga mihi aroha ki a koe Te Rina, me to whanau hoki. na Murray

wasnt me..... - 3 months ago
Not long enough! You have invaded people's personal space. Our homes are our safe place - people like you should stay away! I'm sure your family members wouldn't want to be robbed!!

Lara Meyer - 3 months ago
Tena Koe TeRina.

It is unfortunate that our criminal justice system so often shows bias.

It is a great pity that you didn't show more respect for the personal space or boundaries of someone's home. Their Turangawaewae. However, I have to agree with you that it is unfair when some people, so often Maori or Pasifika, are punished so harshly for crimes involving the taking of what is essentially just 'stuff'. I am well aware that I am going to 'get it' from some quarters of the population for voicing that opinion!

I am thinking of the recently publicised case of the Exclusive Brethren man from Northland who killed three of his family members because he was drunk and driving. He even ran away from the scene, leaving his daughter to die alone on the road. I understand he is only on home detention for that hideous crime. I would bet that if he had been a Maori he would have gone to jail for the same thing.
So my opinion is that our justice system is extremely racist and that is a huge shame for our nation.

TeRina, you write well. You are obviously intelligent. Life is so often unfair, but you can rise above this. Do your time, accept your current circumstances. It is only temporary. Use the time to keep thinking, you are good at it.

Leaders and the wise don't blame or complain when they make a mistake, even if they feel the punishment doesn't fit the crime. They look for solutions to the problems so they don't happen again.

I can see that you are using this time of enforced seclusion to reflect on what brought you to this place in your life. Try not to blame, instead work out how you can become a conduit for positive change and good in our nation.

Nga mihi nui

Peter Millar - 3 months ago
A second-time offender actually means only caught twice, right? Tell us how many times you did not get caught, so readers can be better informed.
I have had my home invaded more than once, the latest via a smashed bedroom window of my young daughter. That left broken glass all over her bed and the burglar rifled thru her drawers. A young girl who no longer wanted to sleep in that room.
Is that how you operated?
I watch TV One News stating the prison population is on the rise, yet crime is dropping. What better outcome could law-abiding citizens want? Perhaps a prison that actually reflects that they are not nice places to be?? Not hotels for criminals.
So Te Rina, as earlier, publish how many times you got away with your crimes. I guess too it is we who will pay for your legal fees in the High Court?
Well done Judge Cathcart, perhaps some of your peers need to look up to your example.

lloyd gretton - 3 months ago
She has two burglary convictions. There is no record of other convictions. With her Maori name, I am afraid that is a prejudice by some commenters that is also legally libellous.

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