Coloured vision does no good to justice system – Editorial One

Issue 417, June 15, 2019

The Report of the Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group does not bode well for our Criminal Justice System. While the full findings of the Group lead by former Courts Minister Chester Borrows will be made available in August 2019, his briefings thus far point to the fact that all is not well and that victims were particularly disappointed.

“For crimes against a person, especially sexual crimes and crimes of indecency, most complainants know it is very, very difficult. These sorts of crimes often happen when there is nobody else around; so, it is often one word against another. The manner of getting clinical, independent forensic evidence certainly is not pleasant, if not downright disgusting to people,” he said.

Systematic Racism

Consolation, if there can be any, is that New Zealand is alone in its racial tint. It is perhaps more embedded in Britain and the United States of America and throughout much of Europe. The reason for this rot is more social and historical, and related to migration of any kind. In New Zealand, it started when the British set foot, leading to the Treaty of Waitangi, which is now being questioned.

Radley Balko, an Opinion Writer, said in a Washington Post Column that of particular concern to some on the right is the term “systemic racism,” often wrongly interpreted as an accusation that everyone in the system is racist.

“In fact, systemic racism means almost the opposite. It means that we have systems and institutions that produce racially disparate outcomes, regardless of the intentions of the people who work within them. When you consider that much of the criminal-justice system was built, honed and firmly established during the Jim Crow era; an era almost everyone, conservatives included, will concede rife with racism, this is pretty intuitive.”

In Britain, something simpler and bigger has changed. Respectable, middle-class Britishness, a rather embattled identity that feels under threat from all manner of coarse and alien trends, now involves at least an aspiration to be colour-blind. Overt, unashamed racism, even when far less vicious than the sort displayed by Stephen Lawrence’s killers, has become indecent.


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