Back in the Dark Ages, if a rich person murdered someone, they could just buy their way out of trouble by paying weregild. We ended the practice when we realised that crimes weren't just against victims, but also society, and that everyone should be equal before the law regardless of wealth of social status.
Sadly, the practice seems to be alive and well in National's New Zealand:
Twelve charges laid against former Pike River Coal chief executive Peter Whittall in relation to the 2010 disaster at the mine have been dropped.
In a shock development in the Christchurch District Court this morning, the Crown said that after an extensive review it was "not appropriate to continue with the prosecution against Mr Whittall''.
Mr Whittall has proposed that a voluntary payment be made on behalf of the directors and officers of Pike River Coal Ltd (in receivership) at the time of the explosions to the families of the 29 men who died and the two survivors.
It means $110,000 will be given to each of the families and survivors - totalling $3.41m.
This is what government of, by and for the rich gets us: rich pricks buying their way out of serious criminal charges. As for justice and the rule of law, clearly they're just for little people.