Sunday, March 11, 2007



Unjust and unfair

This morning's Herald reports that Sharon Shipton, wife of convicted rapist Brad Shipton, may lose her job because of her support for her husband. This is unjust and unfair, and a violation of one of the most basic principles of justice: that it is the person responsible, rather than their family, friends, or neighbours, who should be punished.

Mrs Shipton's testimony during her husband's trial seems to have been false, but she has not been charged with perjury, let alone convicted. Unlike her husband's "good friend" Clint Rickards, she does not hold a position of public trust, and while her dishonesty is morally reprehensible, but does not fundamentally undermine her ability to do her job. Taking action against her is therefore completely unjustified, an exercise in extra-legal revenge. And that is not something anyone should support.

15 comments:

they will jsut 'fail to renew" her contract - just like every other person in the country will fail to create any new contracts with her.

GNZ

Posted by Anonymous : 3/11/2007 03:20:00 PM

I'd agree it's not pertinent that her husbands a rapist. It *is* pertinent that she's standing up for him and it's quite possible that she might wind up facing a perjury prosecution in the future.

Would you want to work with someone like that? Or consider that they have the integrity required to be part of our election process?

Posted by Anonymous : 3/11/2007 03:34:00 PM

Choose a career with the Ministry of Justice and get some great tall stories. Phone 0800 PERJURY.

Posted by Richard : 3/11/2007 03:46:00 PM

Well, MoJ does have some significant responsibilities to ensure that New Zealanders can trust our police force - and her being involved (even in the Electoral Commission) could raise some serious doubts.

Posted by G7 : 3/11/2007 04:24:00 PM

I/S:

Hum... I wonder if this is another case of a sexed-up headline not quite reflecting the story underneath, let alone the reality of the situation.

The most pertinent observation here is that this story is based on what can most charitably be described as very heavily qualified and vague claims from unnamed 'sources' - presumably either within the MoJ or Shipton herself.

Is that how we're settling employment disputes now - who can get their spin in the court of public opinion, rather than through the Employment Court where both parties are acting openly and in good faith, and their competing claims can be rigorously assessed following due process and the rule of law?

However, I agree with you on this: I may not trust Sharon Shipton to tell me the time if we were looking at the same clock. But she's entitled to the same standards of fair treatment under the rule as her convicted rapist husband.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 3/11/2007 05:42:00 PM

This is unfair. She is innocent of perjury until she's convicted and her husband's acts have nothing to do with her ability to do her job.

People have to be professional in their dealings at work. Her workmates might disagree with what her husband has said/done, but that's not work business.

Posted by muerk : 3/11/2007 05:45:00 PM

Murek:

I also think it's unfair to convict the MoJ/Electoral Commission of a far from trivial breech of employment law on the basis of a pretty flimsy claim in a Sunday tabloid.

If Mrs Shipton feels she has been, in effect, unfairly dismissed she does have legal avenues to follow. Trial by media is not one of them.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 3/11/2007 06:02:00 PM

Anon: No, I wouldn't want to work with someone like that - but then, I'd also say the same of half the people I've worked with. And I'm sure there are far too many men in workplaces across the country who share Mrs Shipton's views. Should they all be fired too? (OK, so it would make the workplace a much nicer place - but really?)

As for the Electoral Commission, Shipton doesn't front the organistion, and unlike Rickards her actions aren't intimitely connected with her role. until she is convicted, there is simply no just cause to fire her.

Craig: A suspicious person would think that this was being leaked in order to back the Electoral Commission into renewing her contract. Unfortunately, because the journalists involved won't name their sources and are willing to act as a propaganda mouthpiece, we'll never know.

(Really, just once I'd like to see a journalist show some spine, turn around and burn someone who tries to use them in such a fashion. I think it would do wonders for reporting...)

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/11/2007 06:17:00 PM

>"A suspicious person"

you dont need to be very suspicious... If not that then I expect it is serving the interests of one of the parties somehow.

GNZ

Posted by Anonymous : 3/11/2007 10:24:00 PM

I agree that it wouldn't be fair for Shipton to lose her job over this. It doesn't sound, from the article, like that's actually the case here though... I guess time may tell.

In terms of the employment law side of it, Shipton would need to be on an illegal fixed term to make much headway imho (not having seen anything beyond the link and this post). Which isn't necessarily that unlikely, there are a lot of them around.

Posted by Span : 3/11/2007 10:27:00 PM

A suspicious person would think that this was being leaked in order to back the Electoral Commission into renewing her contract. Unfortunately, because the journalists involved won't name their sources and are willing to act as a propaganda mouthpiece, we'll never know.

(Really, just once I'd like to see a journalist show some spine, turn around and burn someone who tries to use them in such a fashion. I think it would do wonders for reporting...)

Sorry for riding one of my hobby horses, but I'd like to see editors spiking a lot more stories entirely based on anonymous sources, full stop. I'm not saying there's never a case for it, but part of the argument for attribution is that it allows readers to critically assess how credible the person doing the talking is - especially when we're living in a media-savvy culture where 'managing perception' (to use uber-spin doctor Alistair Campbell's noxious phrase) is very big business in its own right.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 3/12/2007 09:34:00 AM

> I'm sure there are far too many men in
> workplaces across the country who
> share Mrs Shipton's views.

But you're happy with the number of women who share her views? Or you just think they're beneath contempt?

Posted by Anonymous : 3/12/2007 09:51:00 AM

You gotta admit....regardless of your opinion of the situation, Sharon is pretty hot....

Too bad she is wasted on a 1st prize prick like Brett Shipton..

By the way, you are right I/S. We should leave Shipton's spouse and family out of this...after all, Sharon's only crime was falling in love with the wrong man.

Posted by B : 3/12/2007 05:11:00 PM

Noone can prove Sharon Shipton was lying. Just as noone can prove the complainant in this case was actually telling the truth.
Sharon Shipton is an amazingly strong women who has had to put up with a lot.
As for Louise Nicholas I am sure she has been a victim of bad therapy and has made some very dubious allegations which one day all her deluded supporters will recognise.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/12/2007 09:23:00 PM

Craig Ranapia:

Yup, fair comment.

Posted by muerk : 3/12/2007 11:33:00 PM