Trevor Mallard is spot on.
Labour’s bother boy says five Maori who avoided imprisonment for the exorcism killing of a relative would have gone to jail if they were Pakeha.
Never thought the day would come when Alf said Mallard gets things right, but – dammit – he is correct.
Trevor Mallard posted his comments on the Labour Parliamentary Caucus’s blog, Red Alert. “These five people killed their niece. It happened over an extended period,” the former education minister wrote.
“I accept that they almost certainly would not reoffend and prison may be an expensive waste of time. And there are too many Maori in prison.
“But I am certain that a Pakeha exorcism that resulted in torture and death would result in a prison term albeit not necessarily a long one.”
The Herald on Sunday says Mallard’s posting has caused particular surprise because of its criticism of the sentencing judge, Justice Simon France.
It is a constitutional no-no for politicians to comment on judges’ decision as Mallard acknowledged and an extraordinary step to imply that the judge has displayed racial bias.
But it was a terrible crime.
Janet Moses, 22, drowned when water was forced into her in an attempt to rid her of a makutu, or Maori curse.
She lay dead in the Wainuiomata house for nine hours before her family contacted police.
Her body was marked with grazes to her upper arms, forearms and torso.
Mallard reckons that in sentencing the five to community sentences, Justice France had “sent a signal that’s the wrong one” about what was effectively “torture”.
The five were given community sentences ranging from 150 to 300 hours community work.
They should have been banged up for a bloody long time.
And yep, if they had been Pakeha, they would have been.