Alf rejoiced when he learned Raurangi Mark Marino had been jailed for 10 years for raping a five-year-old girl as she slept inside her parents’ campervan just before Christmas.
He would have jailed the thug for 30 years or more. But 10 years will get the rascal off the streets for a while.
So what’s all this stuff from a tosser who says prison is not the right place for the teenage monster?
No doubt Henare O’Keefe will take huge umbrage at being thought of as a tosser, because he was named as a national local hero in the New Zealander of the Year awards.
Indeed, he sounds like a well-meaning fellow who was given that accolade for his work with combating family violence, mentoring youth, and assisting in the reintegration of prisoners.
Good for him.
But he has a namby-pamby attitude to thugs, alas.
According to the NZ Herald he told Newstalk ZB this morning
…that Marino would be better off in a marae-based programme where he could learn how to change surrounded by good, solid citizens.
But we haven’t sent the thug to jail to make him better off.
He has been jailed as punishment for his monstrous crime.
It was a crime so monstrous that Alf is tempted to argue for the return of the lash and – in cases like this – have the offender’s nuts cut off.
This O’Keefe feller doesn’t find Marino, at fault, however.
He is banging on about upbringing and the justice system.
“It’s all about the upbringing.
“We’ve got to step outside the law because it’s just not working.”
Just not working?
It worked very well in this case.
The offender was fairly quickly caught by the cops and the nature of his crime disqualified him from being given Youth Court treatment.
Now he has been found guilty and sent to jail.
And it would be great to see O’Keefe focus some of his concerns on the child victim.
He is banging on about how the villain of the piece has been hard done by.
More emphasis needed to be placed back in the home, he said.
“You’ve got to get into the home, right from the get-go.
“A lot of the young people I deal with, if you just let them go, their career’s already been mapped out for them.”
Instead of belatedly prescribing what should be done for Marino, Keefe might usefully pop down to the local gang headquarters and do something to change their culture.
This gives him a chance of influencing the way in which others with gang connections are raised. Indeed, he might ensure against a future outrageous crime of this sort.
Alf tenders this advice because in court yesterday Judge Cooper acknowledged a letter from Marino’s mother.
This detailed his upbringing amid a gang culture and abuse.
“I want to make it clear that you are responsible for your own actions,” he told Marino.
“Having said that, your whanau and your extended whanau are responsible for an upbringing which has produced a young man who committed such an appalling and sickening crime.”
Yep. The grim influence of the gangs comes into the tawdry story.
Booze and drugs come into it too.
Marino’s mother and father – whose families held ties to Black Power and the Mongrel Mob respectively – split up when Marino was 3.
Marino had been involved in Child, Youth and Family care, and years of “bad parenting” had exposed him to violence between his parents and from his father. He was exposed to alcohol and cannabis at an early age, and also sexual abuse _ the most recent episode when he was 15.
Defence counsel Catherine Ewen said between the age of 13 and 16 Marino did not see his mother, who lives in Auckland, while his father had been a Mongrel Mob member for as long as he could remember.
After leaving school, Marino went to live with his mother in Auckland to try to find work, but eventually found work in Turangi in a pruning team.
O’Keefe obviously thinks it’s not too late to put Marino on the straight and narrow.
But Alf would much rather he spare more thought for the victim.
The physical harm she suffered was massive.
And as Crown prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch said, she still suffers bad dreams, tiredness and at times feels overwhelmed while the emotional impact on her parents had been “equally great”.
Would O’Keefe allow them any say in determining the nature of the marae-based justice he prescribes?