Sunday, May 29, 2011

Karl du Fresne: Better Behaviour in Courts!

The TV news recently showed us a defendant in the dock in Waitakere District Court on charges of escaping from police custody in Auckland Hospital.

Throughout his appearance, he was gesticulating and waving. At one point he made a defiant gesture to the TV camera. The reporter told us the man appeared to be conducting a conversation, using signs and gestures, with someone in the body of the court.

There was a time when such behaviour wouldn’t have been tolerated. At the first raise of his hand the defendant would have been firmly told by any policeman in the vicinity to behave himself. If that didn’t work, he would have been fixed with an icy glower from the Bench and ordered to be taken back down to the cells until he learned to show some respect.

If the defendant had the misfortune to strike a crusty old magistrate like the irascible Ben Scully, a legend in his day, he might well have been convicted of contempt without further ado.

Yet the policemen accompanying the defendant in the Waitakere court didn’t raise an eyebrow and evidently the judge said nothing about his behaviour. We can assume from this that such antics are commonplace.

When criminals are routinely allowed to get away with minor infractions, it’s hardly surprising that they feel emboldened to proceed to more serious offences. This is the theory behind the “broken windows” model of policing that has been effective overseas. Arrest the vandals who smash windows, the theory goes, and they might be discouraged from committing worse crimes.

Applying the same rationale, our lamentable crime rate might start to improve if the courts showed less tolerance toward arrogant young punks like the Waitakere show-off.


Ray said...

But, but, we might stomp on his human rights or he may have had a bad childhood or something if we make any moves to improve court standards.
Spare me, put the useless shits in pink prison garb and restrain them like they do in the states.
But, but you can't do that etc,etc. Jeez.

Brian said...

A lost world in a sea of rudeness engendered by a laid back attitude to everything and everybody.
This type of behaviour savours a type of rugged liberal independence, especially by some of those who have had the misfortune to have been “educated and disciplined” since the late 1960’s!
Such old fashioned courtesies as opening a door, or giving up one’s seat on public transport for the opposite sex have been ridiculed and consigned to the age of the dinosaur. They have been helped immeasurably by the adoption of masculinity by the female sex, not that this should be an excuse however.
But it is a factor that the present day female continues to insist that “she” can look after herself, regretfully for the poor things they actually can! Which leaves the male species floundering and questioning whether his very presence upon this earth is really necessary?
However the answer to Karl’s question regarding the “feral type criminal” who shows little respect in court or even outside shows that in essence, the move away from real discipline at home or at school has activated and attuned a populace to regard authority as a joke.
The recent disregard of the huge vote on smacking, has added fuel to the fire and our tinder dry society needs only a few sparks to eventually consume our civilisation. History has shown that the Rome Empire only fell to the Barbarians after it had become socially and morally exhausted.
It is comforting to know that the present courts have adopted a familiarity when dealing with those charged with crimes against us all.
Let us hope that this humanitarian attitude is reflected more and more. Thus enabling as Mr English indicated recently, that in the end, jails will be supplanted by a more enlightened public and legal attitude towards those unfortunates who find themselves in the dock.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the legal progression deserves no respect. Is it possible that the elite in the system who have shown themselves to be above the law don't deserve any respect.

Remember though there were two roman empires, the east and the west. the western empire fell shortly after it was formed from the splitting of the original empire. It fell not to the barbarians but fell because the barbarians were in control. They took over the system that had been put in place the actual invasions were if anything internal power struggles they merely replicated the actions of the romans in empire building and economy.

The western empire known as the Byzantine empire lasted 1000 years and although ruled as a dictatorship had within it systems and balances. were you aware that they supplied bread to the population of constantinople and maintained a stable currency for almost all of their existence. Unbelievable a system of welfare and a currency that was real and trusted unlike the present system with debt as cash and welfare as a curse.

The western empire fell in the end to islam although it did continue on as the ottoman empire in an expanded foot print of the original.

although the western empire was defeated by the turks it's real enemy was the west. The western states especially italy and it's catholic church opposed the east because of religion and it was this content threat and mercenary attacks that weakened the byzantine empire to the point that it fell.

Of note is that without the western empire a large part of early history would have been lost as it was through this empire that greats such as the Iliad were saved and spread. the west was an ignorant bunch of savages by this point but because the byzantine empire provided a barrier to islam by the time the turks were at their door they had developed enough strength and knowledge to prevent an invasion.

As for these jails in their 1000 year history cannabis was not illegal and it was not illegal to be human. You should look at those in jail and ask yourself are they their because they harmed someone or because they broke some moral code imposed on them by others.

600 million dollars a year is spent due to the prohibition of drugs that is one wasted moral crusade.

It is possible those who make the laws are wrong and if you can include rome in your crap argument I can too.

John K said...

I've never forgoten back in the 50's being in court & a council worker was called up but he only got halfway towards the judge when he got bellowed at to get out of the court & get a suit & tie on. He had his overalls on & a pair of gumboots. He was a hard working Dutchman & I wonder if he ever had suit & tie.