Friday, April 20, 2007

A Clarification

In the comments of my post about Sitiveni Sivivatu's discharge without conviction, Jo brought up an important dynamic. Becoming an All Black was probably one of the few ways a poor Pacific Islander will get discharged without conviction, where his rich white counterpart will get one for any number of reasons.

I want to make it clear that I wasn't arguing that he should have been convicted. Just that the reason that he wasn't convicted shouldn't have been that he was an All Black. I'm not a big believer in the 'justice' system. I know that women who have been abused in intimate relationships are often treated really badly by the police and the courts. The system doesn't do people in abusive relationships any good, the majority of the time, quite the opposite. A conviction isn't going to make an abuser any less abusive.

So I have no objection to discharges without conviction if they are available to everyone, but the rhetoric around it whether it's a 'he's a christian, non-drinker, who might play for the All Blacks' or 'he's an upstanding member of the local rotary and won't be able to go on his business trips', makes a really clear statement about who, and what, this society values and thinks important. Statements I really disagree with.

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