Alf can’t wait for the screening of the Native Affairs programme in which members of the Ratahi family “share their story”. He expects they will do a great deal of bitching about what everybody should have done for the late Anthony Ratahi without much acknowledging their own shortcomings.
The late Anthony Ratahi, of course, is the bloke who was shot by the coppers after he took his former partner Marcelle Beer hostage at gunpoint in an Opunake hotel last weekend.
According to an early account of the hostage incident –
On Friday night, armed with a gun, Ratahi walked into the Headlands Hotel where he ordered staff and patrons out before he barricaded himself and Ms Beer inside. She works there as a waitress. Twelve hours later he emerged with a knife before going back into the foyer where he was killed by a single police gunshot.
Holding a female hostage is a dastardly way to behave, of course.
Ordering patrons out of a pub is more than a tad uncivilized, too, and should be an offence in its own right.
But hold on.
Shouldn’t he still have been in the slammer?
Ratahi was released from jail nine days earlier after serving eight weeks of a six-month sentence for domestic violence against Ms Beer. It is understood Ratahi had held a knife to her throat.
Actually, it was a three months sentence. But he was out too soon, regardless.
This morning we learn that –
Ratahi’s two daughters are speaking out on Monday night’s episode of Native Affairs with their story to be followed by a live panel discussion led by anchor Julian Wilcox.
It’s worth noting how this programme was instigated.
Maori Television’s Te Kaea reporter Semiramis Holland was approached by the Ratahi whanau and granted exclusive unlimited access to the tupapaku and the tangihanga at Oeo Pa.
It looks suspicously as if the whanau went looking for a platform from which to do a bit of bitching. They sure won’t be going out of their way to tell us what a great job the cops did.
“They’re not denying their father had a history of violent offending, but are concerned about how the operation was handled and whether it was necessary for police to shoot him,” says Mr McRae.
Alf is bound to say he is puzzled by some aspects of the case.
Specialist armed police shot Ratahi through the left eye after setting a dog on him.
Police found a knife beside his body but it was 45 hours before they announced they’d found a gun. They still haven’t said if if he had it when confronted by armed police.
So did he have have a gun when he was shot, and if so, why was it so hard to find afterwards?
True to form, the Maori Party is seeking answers.
Maori Party MP Rahui Katene says answers are needed as to why Ratahi was shot and how he was monitored after his release from prison. Katene also wants to know what rehabilitation Ratahi underwent while detained.
She says systems should have been in place to get him back into the community in a way that saw he was no danger to the community.
If she cares to wait, she should get at least some of the answers.
Five separate investigations are under way into the shooting.
But maybe the authorities are in no hurry to tell us what happened.
Auckland-based Detective Superintendent Andrew Lovelock said it may be a matter of months before “full details of the events at the weekend can be publicly disclosed”.
Police said yesterday that the firearm used by Ratahi had been recovered, but would not reveal specific details of the weapon other than that it was “consistent with witness accounts”.
It has been reported the weapon was a handgun.
Acting District Commander Inspector Pat Handcock would not elaborate on why it had taken so long for the gun to be found, apart from saying that police had to work through the scene and follow correct protocol.
We know that Ratahi, 46, had come close to strangling Marcelle Beer after she went to his Stratford home in May this year.
Court sentencing papers also show Ratahi had been convicted for assaulting another female in March.
After the May attack, Ratahi pleaded guilty to a charge of intending to cause grievous bodily harm and another of assault using a knife as a weapon.
In his judgment in the New Plymouth District Court dated June 2, Judge Max Courtney said the charges to which Ratahi pleaded guilty were serious.
The judge sentenced Ratahi to three months’ jail on both charges and told him that the conviction on the grievous bodily harm charge brought into effect the three-strike warning process.
So how come you can be sentenced to three months in the slammer in June, but be shot in the left eye in a boozer in Opunake in July?
Ratahi had been out of prison for just over a week.
Oh, and what sort of “rehabilitation” does the silly Rahui Katene imagine can be dispensed in just eight weeks? Or does she think he should he have been kept banged up for longer, to make sure the rehabilitation was effective?
Another question is what sort of monitoring was this bloke subjeced to after his release and who was doing the monitoring?
Whoever it was, they weren’t very good at it.
Dunno if the daughters will be demanding to know why their dad was not banged up and kept there for a much lengthier period.
But he does know from the Native Affairs media statement what he can expect to hear in the programme on Monday.
Native Affairs producer Colin McRae says the whanau has concerns at the lack of support upon his release from prison, which they will discuss further on the show.
This is a bit rich.
Lack of support from who, exactly?
Shouldn’t we look for support first of all from our families?
Alf noted that Ratahai’s brother made a plea to be allowed out on bail to attend his tangi.
Errol Ratahi is in prison awaiting sentence in September on charges of burglary and unlawfully being in a building.
Betcha the programme does not examine how much support the family have given to either of the Ratahi brothers over the years, or what they do to try to keep family members on the right side of the law.