The Scales of Justice Aren’t Working by Trevor Plumbly

What Constitutes Justice? In an interesting recent case here in NZ, a man found guilty of seriously injuring an elderly lady was sentenced to a period of home detention. This was subsequently increased on appeal to a two year prison term. Up sprang the Penal Reform proponents in one corner to face The Sensible Sentencing Trust in the other. Both sides have good articulate advocates who present their cases well without mawkish sentiment or a ‘throw away the key’ spiel, and that’s where the problems start for me, at least. I like… Read More

Casting the First Stone by Angela Caldin

The Stephen Lawrence Case The recent claim by an undercover police officer here in the UK that efforts were made to smear the reputations of the family and friends of Stephen Lawrence leave me groping for the right word to describe how I feel about this extraordinary revelation: I am dumbfounded, outraged, perplexed, horrified. There does not seem to be a word strong enough to convey the shock that overtook me when I heard the allegation that the police, instead of concentrating on finding evidence against those in the frame for the… Read More

The Fate of the Whistleblower or Why Shoot the Messenger? By Angela Caldin

The Wikileaks Whistleblower The face of Bradley Manning stares solemnly forward, lips pressed together, etched with vulnerability and fear. Manning is a young US soldier arrested in May 2010 for passing classified material to WikiLeaks. He was charged with 22 offences, including communicating national defence information to an unauthorized source, and aiding the enemy. He is clearly a very troubled person who had a difficult childhood and an even more difficult time in the army. Based near Baghdad, Manning had access to US databases for transmitting classified information. He was arrested after… Read More

Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp by Angela Caldin

Have you ever wondered, as I have, why the infamous US detention camp is on the island of Cuba in the first place, given that the two nations are enemies? How did the place where the beautiful guantanamera of song originates come to be chosen as the site of the prison for the hundreds of so-called enemy combatants who were picked up by the US in the wake of 9/11? And have you ever wondered why so many of them are still there even though they have been cleared for release? Why… Read More

A Sporting Chance by Trevor Plumbly

A Nation Obsessed by Sport International image is pretty important to most countries, especially small ones, and New Zealand is certainly no different in its anxiety to scrub up for foreign approval. Superficially, we shine up pretty well: ‘Godzone’ and all that, a clean, green land occupied by smiling, tattooed Maoris, All Black rugby players and all manner of sportspeople gung-ho to show the world what a tiny country can achieve on the world stage. Medals and titles won are usually accompanied by an ‘against all odds’ reference to our somewhat sparse… Read More