From this morning’s Christchurch Press
Selau Ifopo-Sumner and Mandy Karatau-Keightley live in Brittania Street, Christchuch. Upon hearing a rumour that twice convicted child sex offender, Colin Davies, was to be paroled to their street, the two women took action. They distributed hundreds of pamphlets in 12 streets in the area, naming the address where Mr Davies would be living.
Since then, rocks have been thrown at the named house and also through the window of an elderly neighbour. It is now claimed by Mr Davies’ sister (with whom he was to board) that he will not be staying with her because “her landlord had threatened to evict her if he did”.
What’s the morality of all this? In my view Selau Ifopo-Summer and Mandy Karatau-Keightley acted with good intention, though perhaps prematurely. The landlord (if his alleged threat has been accurately reported) has acted honorably.
Davies’ sister merely wanted to help her brother.
The villains are:
1 The rock throwing idiots.
2 Davies who indecently assaulted two girls in the ’80s and then more recently raped a 10 year old girl.
C A justice system that was apparently considering releasing Davies after four years of a seven year sentence and seemed to have no intention of warning his new neighbours.
There is a big issue here. Do convicts who have served their sentence have a “right” to privacy? My answer is no. A conviction is not designed just to punish an offender. Its purpose should also be to serve as a warning to all citizens on just what kind of behaviour the offender has a tendency to. It should be a permanent, readily accessible record for all to view.
I’m a believer in rehabilitation and forgiveness. But rehabilitation can only come if the offender either faces or is forced to face the evil and the consequences of his actions. Raskolnikov, the protagonist of Dostoyevsky’s classic “Crime and Punishment” murdered two old ladies with an axe. It took him several years of hard labour before the evil of what he had done dawned on him and rehabilitation could even begin.
Forgiveness can only begin when an offender can be seen to face up to his actions and genuinely change his ways. Hiding convictions helps neither forgiveness or genuine rehabilitaion.
Colin Davies has damaged the lives of three young girls and their families. That damage may last a lifetime. We have a criminal justice system that treats people like Davies with kid gloves. It then dumps them on an unaware public, leaving our kids to bear the risk.
Until we have system that treats serious offenders firmly and puts the public’s right to protect itself as top prority, good people will protect their families as best they can.