Because it's been revealed today by the NZ Herald that the Jaz brothers have had nearly $900,000 in legal aid so far. And that bill is just going to increase, now they’re appealing their convictions and their sentences.
You probably don’t need too much reminding of what these two monsters are in prison for. But here are the main points.
They were jailed last month after being convicted of 69 charges between them. Which included rape, sexual violation, indecent assault, stupifying, disabling, making intimate recordings of women without their knowledge or consent, and supplying illegal drugs.
Danny Jaz is away for 16-and-a-half years. Roberto Jaz has a 17-year sentence. Although, they could be out sooner than that because, after they’ve served half of their sentences, they can be considered for parole.
All this offending happened while they were running the Christchurch bar that their family owned. Which, at the time, was called Mama Hooch. It’s called something else these days and the Jaz family has nothing to do with it.
Their father, Michael Jaz - who they were working for - has done a runner to Australia owing creditors 235-thousand dollars. So, overall, they’re a “wonderful” family, aren’t they?
He owes more than $200,000 to creditors. And his low-life sons - who were born in Australia - have had their noses in the legal aid trough to the tune of $896,000. And their noses are still in the trough, because they’re relying on legal aid to fund their appeals.
Now I get the whole legal aid thing. And I get that there will be cases where it just seems outrageous that the taxpayer is paying the legal costs of some absolute low lifes.
The mosque terrorist is another example. We paid more than $392,000 for his legal representation. Another Australian.
And if these Mama Hooch rapists qualified for legal aid, then it is what it is.
The rules say that someone can get legal aid if they can’t afford a lawyer and have been charged with something that could end up with them going to prison for six months or more.
You also qualify for legal aid if you’re appealing your conviction or sentence.
But what really sticks in my claw is the fact that, while these two were having everything paid for, there were women suffering because of the monstrous way they were treated by these two, who were paying for their own counselling to try and deal with what they’d been through. Let alone recover.
And that’s exactly what one of their victims is saying today too. Her name is Sophie Brown. She is the only Mama Hooch victim who has chosen to drop her statutory name suppression. Meaning she can speak publicly about the case.
She says she feels sad about the amount of legal aid money that has gone into the Jaz brothers. And, as she points out in the Herald story, as a taxpayer she’s paying for it too. Just like you and I are.
And she says, apart from being paid for their time during the trial and having travel sorted out for them and getting a bit of counselling from a local charity, the victims have pretty much been left to fend for themselves.
Some have had to move out of town, because of the trauma. No costs covered there. They’ve had to pay for their own counselling. No costs covered there.
And, as Sophie says: “Why shouldn't the brothers be paying for the counselling services that they've put on these girls.” And who could argue with that?
Someone else who is speaking out on this today is victim advocate Ruth Money.
She says the amount of legal aid money spent on the Mama Hoch rapists is “absolutely obscene”. Again, who could argue with that?
She says if only their victims could get even just 10 percent of that to help with the therapy they need.
Here’s how she puts it: “Victims have to wait years and years, and self-fund most of their help themselves. And yet predators receive these extortionate rates of support from the state.”
Could the system be any more degrading?
John MacDonald is the Canterbury Mornings host on Newstalk ZB Christchurch. This article was first published HERE