Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rich man's justice

The government, the police, and the courts keep telling us that domestic violence is unacceptable. Unless, apparently, you're rich:

A Te Papa manager has escaped conviction for a "degrading" assault on his pregnant former partner after claiming it would hamper his international travel for the museum.

Noel James Osborne, 47, is a collections manager of Maori artefacts. In a video on Te Papa's website in which he presents the museum's collection of taiaha, he says he is a carver.

Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said Osborne's discharge without conviction reeked of double standards. "Effectively what this says is it is OK if you happen to be in a privileged position."

Pretty much. If Osborne had been poor, he would almost certainly have been convicted. Refusing to do so in a serious case like this effectively denies the crime. There is a place for discharge without conviction, but I don't think this is it.