There are a number of serious issues with the Gotingco rape and murder case, not the least of which is the role that was played by the New Zealand police force and the country’s Department of Corrections.
Defense council Wilkinson-Smith, reappointed at the 11th hour has indicated an intention to appeal the courts decision. Of course the defense has every right to appeal to a higher jurisdiction on points of law but we are not sure where Wilkinson-Smith intends heading with it. Nor is it clear just how his successful application for continuing name suppression actually assists the accused, given the admissions he has already made under oath.
LF suspects that the issue of the drugs, addiction, the subsequent state of mind of the accused and the subsequent onus on the Crown with respect to a duty of care will all play a larger than life role in the appeal process.
In fact given the admissions made by the accused LF have been left a little stunned by the New Zealand media’s more than obvious avoidance of what we would have thought were events that could undoubtedly be seen as causal, the completely unavoidable matter of the culpability of both the police and the Department of corrections and the role both played in the circumstances leading up to and thus arguably contributing to or in fact enabling the commission of this horrific crime.
The issue of the defendants state of mind at the time the crime was committed, if it were to be established that he was insane or temporarily psychologically impaired, it would provide room manoeuvre with diminished responsibility comes the possibility for an acquittal or perhaps even the application of the lesser charge of manslaughter, in that the accused had not consciously intended, with premeditation, to murder Mrs Gotingco.
The fact is that in this case both the New Zealand police and the Department of Corrections bear more responsibility for the murder of Blessie Gotingcon than they are obviously now willing to admit.
The New Zealand Courts had already assessed that the accused “poses a very considerable risk” to a large section of the New Zealand public, its children, and yet it would seem that the accused was allowed to be released from prison with a GPS tracking bracelet but without having successfully completed a drugs and alcohol rehabilitation program. Further, that despite knowing of the presence of these serious agravating factors, undoubtedly increasing the likelyhood of reoffending, the police and the other now liable stakeholders had not, at least to what a reasonable person would deem a satisfactory standard, especially given the level of risk present and assessed by another court as extreme, ensured compliance with the accuseds parole conditions. Just how is it that the accused was able to obtain Methanphetamine?
The second aggravating issue relates to the crimes post mortem events. Just how was it that a paroled man who had been declared a public danger, a man with a tracking device shackled to his ankle was not noticed by those doing the GPS satellite tracking having entered a large cemetery, a place known to be frequented by vulnerable people, people who were immediately placed at risk by the accused presence at that location?
It’s all very well labelling the accused “the son of Satin” or “pure evil embodied”, both of which may well be apt titles, but the glaringly obvious reality is that Bessie Gotingco would still be alive today had the New Zealand police and other government departments done what was expected of them, both by High Court judge Justice Edwin Wylie who imposed the conditions upon which the accused was to be released from prison in the first instance and the New Zealand public’s reasonable expectation that those responsible would actually do their jobs in ensuring the conditions were met in every foreseeable circumstance.
This case bears all the hallmarks of a series of similar cases where the paroled, apon their heavily contested release from prison, have almost immediately committed serious crimes of violence resulting in the rape and deaths of innocent New Zealanders, all women and children.
The most recent case, which again bears many of the hallmarks of the Gotingco rape and murder, is that of the 2014 rape and murder of young Christchurch woman Amy Farrall.
The Murderer in that case, 38 year old Aaron Rhys McDonald, eventually pleaded guilty to raping and murdering Ms Farrall then dumping her body in the boot of her car at a Woolston supermarket on March 29 2014. Just
McDonald too enjoyed “name suppression”, doing so right up until he decided to enter a guilty plea. Given the fact that McDonald was also on parole supervision when he committed the murder the name suppressions are starting to look like a pattern, arguably born of the authorities desire to muzzle the media until such time as they have managed to construct a strategy to limited their poor performance and consequent common law liability.
The fact we here at LF would suggest that the McDonald case has undoubtedly had a bearing on the way in which both the police and corrections department have acted throughout the Gotingco matter, both during the police investigation, at the time of the arrest, the application for name suppressions and the manner in which the trial has unfolded.
There are other similarities between the two rape and murders, which again both the police and corrections will undoubtedly have been aware of. The first is of course the murderers alleged drug dependency, both having addictions to methamphetamine, drug dependencies that were obviously not treated whilst either were serving prison sentences for their prior violent criminal offending.
Now in the case of McDonald the Department of Corrections at the time claimed that it had immediately launched an inquiry, so as to get to the bottom of how and why McDonald had not been monitored. The New Zealand media reported on the circumstances of this case after the horse had bolted in 2014;
Killer’s parole supervision reviewed
6:51 PM Wednesday Apr 16, 2014
Jeremy Lightfoot, National Commissioner of Corrections Services today said initial inquiries showed that McDonald had met his parole conditions up to the point of his last reporting to them on March 18 this year.
“Our probation staff were in regular contact with him and those he was living with,” Mr Lightfoot said.
A comprehensive review of his management is now being undertaken “to ensure his supervision in the community met all our standards and expectations”, he said.
“This comprehensive review is not complete yet, and as we will also be giving advice in regards to sentencing options for this offender it would not be appropriate for us to comment before he is sentenced.”
A hearing at Rimutaka Prison last September was told McDonald was a self-confessed alcohol and methamphetamine user who smoked cannabis daily since he was 15, but his risk to the community over the remaining nine months of his sentence could be “adequately mitigated”.
Source: NZ Herald
So where is the Corrections report promised by Lightfoot? Were is the police report? Was an IPCA complaint ever made? Was any of this material ever made public? Did the New Zealand mainstream media chase this extremely important public interest issue up and report on it? Of course they fucking didn’t, New Zealand’s media was missing in action, asleep at the wheel yet again!
What Commissioner Jeremy Lightfoot fails to grasp is that its not his fucking expectations that matter. What really matters is what the New Zealand public should quite reasonably be able to expect from the New Zealand police, Jeremy Lightfoot and his Department of corrections. That simply being that they do the job that they are paid to do.
In the case of McDonald they clearly failed miserably and an innocent young woman was raped and murdered as a result of that obscene failure. The investigation and report that Jeremy Lightfoot had promised the public would have, one would hope, prevented such a tragedy ever being allowed to occur again.
But as always with New Zealand the horrendous truth is quite different as was the result. Not only was there a publicly available document, absolutely no one, including Lightfoot, was apparently ever held to account for what can now only at best be called systemic failures by both the police and the Department of corrections that lead to the brutal rape and murder Amy Farrall, but that the same people have allowed it to happen yet again, in almost identical circumstances, that Blessie Gotengco was raped and murdered because of the same systemic failures inherent in both Police and the Department of Corrections. Flaws that both failed to address when they had the opportunity just twelve months earlier.
This then brings us to another press release today by New Zealand’s department of justice. It seems to us here at team LF that the timing of this Fairfax article has to have been cynical and deliberate, or was it just a bad joke?:
Sex offender Lloyd McIntosh’s strict monitoring extended
May 22 2015
A “high risk” sex offender has become the first person in New Zealand to have his strict monitoring programme extended for another decade.
Lloyd Alexander McIntosh’s 10-year extended supervision order, designed to protect the public from potentially dangerous offenders, was set to expire on June 11.
According to a judgement by Justice Rachel Dunningham, the Department of Corrections applied to the High Court at Christchurch this month to have the order renewed.
As part of its application, Corrections also sought an intensive monitoring condition for the first year of the extended supervision order, the judgement says.
The court was provided with a health assessor’s report which said McIntosh had committed sex crimes against vulnerable victims and he remained a “high risk” of further offending.
McIntosh’s counsel filed no opposition to the application.
“In fact, [counsel] notes that Mr McIntosh welcomes the order as a means to provide for continuity for his support and care at the [residential centre where he lives],” the judgement says.
Dunningham approved the application.
McIntosh’s crimes include the rape of a 23-month-old baby and a 6-year-old child.
In 2004, the paedophile, who has to take drugs to control his sex drive, was set to be released to live in a rural Canterbury town, but public outrage forced Corrections to house him in a unit on the grounds of Christchurch Men’s Prison.
The same year he became the first man to be the subject of a 10-year extended supervision order.
Corrections was able to apply to have the order extended this month under the Parole (Extended Supervision Orders) Amendment Act passed last year.
The legislation allows Corrections to apply for an extension of an existing order, without the offender committing new eligible offences.
Extended supervision orders are designed to protect the public from high-risk violent and sexual offenders when they have completed their jail terms.
They allow the Parole Board to impose special conditions, such as electronic monitoring.
This article appears to us to have been little more than a public relations stunt by the authorities, including the New Zealand police and the Department of corrections, who are more than aware that the identity of the man accused of raping and murdering Blessie Gotingco is known by many angry Kiwi’s. In fact its this cynical press propaganda that pisses us of the most. Team LF are sickened by the nauseatingl insincere behaviour of New Zealand government officials who know full well that the new laws are unenforceable simply because the country has an incompetent police force and civil service.
The New Zealand media are also failing the Kiwi public – in their fourth estate duties by not exposing the serious rot that has been evident to the casual observer for years, the deceit and outright lies that are peddled by government spin doctors in order to mislead the New Zealand public. In fact it was the above article, falsely attempting to peddle a picture that New Zealander’s and their kids were some how as safe as houses because paedophile Lloyd Alexander McIntosh has had his “high risk monitoring” extended for another ten years. The lie that is beneath the claim that McIntosh is the first to have attracted this type of ongoing supervision, and that somehow everyone can now rest easy because a recently passed law enabling the police and the Department of corrections to monitor these offenders is working well – All of it complete and utter crap;
If you are one of the many that have fallen for this government sponsored spin-doctored unadulterated bullshit then you need a quick reality check. Team LF are about to aid in the administration of a reality check by pointing the unwary reader to an almost identical article to that which appeared today. Another Department of Justice bullshit press release that was masterfully reworked into a news item by one of the accomplished hack journos at the New Zealand Herald on March 1st, 2014 just eight weeks before Blessie Gotingco was brutally raped and murdered on May 24 , 2014
Paedophile to be under close watch for 10 years
Saturday Mar 1, 2014
A paedophile who kidnapped and molested a 5-year-old in 2005 has been deemed such a lasting danger that he will be strictly monitored for the next decade.
Tony Douglas Robertson, 26, completed an eight-year prison sentence in December. He’s since breached his release conditions twice and was recalled to prison this week.
He’s also this month had an “extended supervision order” slapped on him for the next decade, meaning he’ll be under strict Corrections monitoring and could be sent back to prison for stepping out of line during that time.
His original sentence related to the abduction of a 5-year-old girl in Tauranga in December 2005, when he was 18.
Despite being found guilty, he continues to deny his offending, which High Court judge Justice Edwin Wylie took into account this month when slapping a 10-year extended supervision order – the maximum period available – on Robertson.
“I am satisfied that Mr Robertson poses a very considerable risk indeed,” he said in his judgment last week.
“I consider that it is likely that he will commit an indecency on a child under the age of 12 years, and that he will abduct a child for the purpose of sexual connection.
“The evidence compels the conclusion that (he) is impulsive, and that he is unable to control his anger and aggression. Mr Robertson has a predilection for, and a proclivity towards, sexual offending. He has shown no remorse … Indeed, he continues to deny it.”
Robertson was released on December 11 last year, three days before his statutory release date.
He breached his release conditions twice within five weeks of that release.
He appeared in the North Shore District Court last month charged with the first breach for hosting a visitor overnight at his Parole Board-approved accommodation and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment.
He has a scheduled hearing this month for the second breach for visiting a park, “where children were likely to congregate”.
A Corrections spokeswoman said extended supervision orders allowed Corrections to monitor high-risk child sex offenders for up to 10 years after release.
“This means a person subject to an ESO will have to report to their probation officer regularly …”
She said they could also be subject to electronic monitoring, GPS and restrictions on where they can live.
Source: NZ Herald
That’s right, for the New Zealanders who had not been able to work it out for themselves the man who has been convicted of raping and murdering Blessie Gotingco is exactly the same man that the New Zealand police were supposed to have been keeping a court ordered close eye on.
LF kept quite during the process of the trial to ensure that it was fair. We do not understand why continued name suppression assists the accused now following his conviction. In fact we suspect it has more to do with protecting the police and that the accused has been happy to go along with it.
LF now suspects that the application for continued name suppression is more than just a little dodgy, that far from the accused being behind it that culpable crown entities are in fact pulling the strings. We are not going to speculate on what sort of deal may have been done, just that some sort of deal designed to coverup the police failures has been struck.
Afterall who would likely benefit from the ongoing name suppression order? Especially given the normal conditions under which an appeal would be likely to succeed? As far as we can see any appeal would have to be on points of law or based on the argument that an injustice had occurred during the trial.
Whilst the media are so graciously assisting the Gotingco family with being left alone to grieve has anyone inquired as to whether the family has been advised of the course of action that is now available to them in suing the New Zealand Police and the Department of Corrections? In fact did anyone inform the family of Amy Farrall of their legal rights and the options open to them to sue the New Zealand police and the department of corrections for either civil tort damages or charges of criminal negligence? Some how we doubt it.
That then brings us to another public interest story that was recently published on Fairfax’s Stuffed.co.nz. It seems to us that this group of do good lawyers might like to represent both the Gotingco and Farrall families pro bono, assisting them both with an action against the New Zealand government, in particular the police and the Department of Corrections, seeking damages for their gross negligence in the matter of two seriously dangerous and violent criminals who took the lives of the two families loved ones;
Panel to investigate suspected miscarriages of justice
May 19 2015
Michael October’s murder and rape conviction could be the first case challenged by a high-powered team formed to investigate suspected miscarriages of justice in New Zealand.
Charitable trust The New Zealand Public Interest Project (NZPIP) will launch on June 1. Its panel will investigate potential injustices.
The conviction of Michael October, who spent 11 years in jail for the 1994 rape and murder of 22-year-old Christchurch woman Anne-Maree Ellens, is among four high-profile criminal cases in its sights. Civil proceedings of public interest, including test cases and class action, could be considered.
The voluntary board consists of sociologist and University of Canterbury (UC) lecturer Jarrod Gilbert, UC dean of law Chris Gallavin, private investigator Tim McKinnel, lawyers Nigel Hampton QC and and Kerry Cook, forensic scientist Anna Sandiford, legal expert Duncan Webb, and founder of investigation firm Zavest Glynn Rigby.
Gilbert said countries including England and Scotland had independent criminal cases review commissions that pursued potential miscarriages. While these organisations were created and funded by Acts of Parliament, successive New Zealand governments refused to establish a similar body.
“We see this as an important absence in our country’s legal system, and so we decided to create one ourselves,” he said.
The project was developed from the Teina Pora and October cases, where “fundamental concerns around the justice system” had been raised.
Prior to the creation of NZPIP, panel members have been privately involved in the Pora, October, Mark Lundy and David Bain cases.
October has consistently denied his involvement in the crime, despite initially offering a confession to police. There was no DNA evidence linking him to the scene. In 1996, the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by October against his convictions.
“I don’t think we should be concerned by mistakes within the justice system but we should be deeply concerned if we are not prepared to make them right,” Gilbert said.
The initiative was a partnership with UC, and would act as a charitable trust, calling on the help of outside experts, he said.
Cases would be looked at by UC law school students, who would operate under the supervision of the board, working mostly on “pro bono” basis and earning course credit.
In some cases, the board could apply for legal aid but the organisation would receive no direct funding.
Gallavin said it would be “fairly small with a limited capacity” but in some instances the cases would end up in the Court of Appeal, Privy Council or up for judicial review.
He has been among a chorus of experts calling for a criminal cases reviews commission, which he said could save taxpayer dollars and uphold the reputation of the legal system.
Former Justice Minister Judith Collins last year rejected calls for a review panel, saying the criminal justice system has “robust safeguards against miscarriages of justice through the appeals process and the royal prerogative of mercy”.
Gilbert said people needed a vehicle to reach that point, while many did not have the ability or financial means to pursue miscarriages.
People who felt they have fallen victim to a miscarriage of justice would have forms available to them to fill out and make a referral to the body.
From there, the board would decide on the merit of a case and if it is in the public interest, then decide if it has “got legs”, and finally if they had the capacity to carry out the investigation.
Note: LF will have more on the above Canterbury University initiative in an upcoming post.