How do you humiliate a murderer?

It was inevitable, I suppose. News today that the inmates named in a Corrections Dept file left in a public place plan to sue for damages for “distress and humiliation” suffered when their personal details were made known.

I have to say that when I first heard about this episode I began to wonder whether it wasn’t a dirty trick designed to further undermine the Government. It followed a string of similar lapses by officials in the UK that are seen as damaging the Labour Government there.

But, given the Government’s current polling, there wouldn’t be much point in this, would there? Also, the official responsible is suspended and likely to face disciplinary action, we are told. (Actually, how long does it take to investigate something this simple? A week? What the hell are the Corrections Department up to? More incompetence?)

The “dossier”, as the Herald likes to call it, was first handed to TUMEKE’s Martin Bradbury a.k.a. Bomber. For some reason Bradbury saw fit to publicise the find. Stupid. The Herald gleefully disclosed many of the private details. Irresponsible.

Will this matter be heard just before the election? I’m sure even the battiest member of the kiwiblog right must see how unfair that would be. (Perhaps not.)

Now, I’m not that keen on the idea of stripping inmates of their rights. Phil Goff’s moves to reduce prisoners’ compensation for abuse were a knee-jerk reaction and violate our international commitments.

But here are some issues…

How much humiliation does a “career criminal” or convicted murderer suffer if private details of their rehabilitation, for example, become known?

Can this humiliation be seen as part of their punishment — inadvertent as it was?

Is there a material difference between many of the details disclosed in this case and those that are reported from parole hearings?

Should the Department of Corrections sue the Herald in the event that damages are awarded against them?

Why doesn’t the Herald mention its own culpability in today’s report?


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One Response to “How do you humiliate a murderer?”

  1. MacDoctor Says:

    I have to admit that I too was rather dubious about the quality or even the legitimacy of the Herald’s journalism in this regard. As to criminals having the right to sue for damages: – whereas I think criminals are entitled to basic human rights, the ability to sue for damages should be curtailed. Anyone who argues that criminals have full human rights have obviously overlooked the fact that they have already lost their freedom.

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