Over the past two days two news items have surfaced in Fairfax publications, however they certainly did not make headlines as perhaps they should have. The most prominent of the two articles was penned by Kiwi journo Ian Steward. Stewards piece lightly touched on the ongoing saga of the murder of Auckland teenager Stephen Dudley following a rugby practice in July 2013. Most of what Steward has to say, whilst not at all widely publicised is old news, although there was one small fact that the journalist touched on, only just, that was of interest and may prove to be significant to the future of this case. Steward opined;
Stephen Dudley’s parents shocked by file
January 9 2015
The parents of dead West Auckland schoolboy Stephen Dudley say their son has been “prosecuted into the grave” following a battle to see his court file.
Brent and Mona Dudley gained access to the court file relating to their son’s death late last year, though parts relating to the boys who assaulted Stephen were withheld.
Unusually, the High Court granted access on the condition that the family’s representative – former Sensible Sentencing Trust spokeswoman Ruth Money – give a written undertaking that the information in the file not be made public.
Stephen Dudley, 15, died shortly after being assaulted by two youths, then-aged 15 and 17, after rugby practice in July 2013.
Both pleaded guilty to assault but they were discharged without conviction and their names permanently suppressed after Justice Helen Winkelmann ruled that Dudley had a pre-existing, undiagnosed heart condition and his subsequent death could not be taken into account at sentencing.
Brent Dudley is prevented by the court order from revealing what he has learned from the file but he said there were details in there that were revelations to him.
“The picture that those boys portrayed – absolute innocence, good church-going innocence – there are things that are so, so contrary to that, that it is absolutely shocking,” he said.
Dudley believes the boys have not been held to account for setting out to cause his son serious bodily injury.
“It was a brutal assault,” he said.
“What is evident [from the court file] is that it’s a complete miscarriage of justice. If the general public were aware of what transpired on the night, I’m pretty sure the country would be up in arms.”
Justice Winkelmann also made the decision on access to the court file and Dudley said there looked to be an “element” of the judge protecting her sentencing decision.
The Dudleys appointed Money as their representative to receive the court file which “obviously set alarm bells ringing”, Dudley said.
The judge released a redacted copy of the file – without psychological reports on the offenders or their pre-sentence reports – on the condition that Money gave a written undertaking to the court that she would not distribute or publish the information.
Dudley said the justice system seemed to be primarily interested in protecting the two boys and his family’s interests were secondary.
Their treatment from the system had felt like further blows, he said.
“My son is dead,” he said.
“They’ve prosecuted him into the grave and they’re still punching.”
The court’s reaction to Money’s involvement showed there were “people who don’t want this to go any further”, Dudley said.
“It proves more and more that there are things being swept under the carpet.”
Dudley declined to say what the family was planning to do next but said more action was underway, including looking at the Crown’s prosecution of the case.
Has anyone else spotted the rat? It’s in the very first paragraph; “former Sensible Sentencing Trust spokeswoman Ruth Money“. Steward touches on Ruth Money’s “former” status, almost as if it were old news, thus skillfully putting the fact that Money is no longer involved with the Sensible Sentencing Trust to the back of the readers mind, at least those that had likely even picked up on it in the first place.
The problem is that Ruth Money’s departure from the Sensible Sentencing Trust is not old news. In fact given her former status as the trusts spokesperson surely Ian Steward might have thought to include an explanation for her sudden departure from the Sensible Sentencing Trust only yesterday. That’s right Ruth Money and the Sensible Sentencing Trust parted company, at least to the publics knowledge, at around the exact same time as Ian Steward sat down to write his article.
Ian Steward, whilst clearly aware of Ms Money’s sudden departure, said absolutely nothing about why she had left, nor did he even bother to question her departure. It was in fact left to the reader, those who may have been aware of the anomaly to have gone looking for the information themselves. LF of course did that and we found our answers not in a mainstream national publication, but rather, at least first, in a tiny one paragraph piece that had been published online by small town newspaper the Marlborough Express (Fairfax);
McVicar’s election bid ‘cause of split’
January 8 2015
A clash over political aspirations has been revealed as the key reason why Sensible Sentencing Trust’s ex-deputy Ruth Money suddenly split from the victims’ lobby group late last year.
And the revelation has prompted a war of words between Money and the face of the trust, Garth McVicar – Garth McVicar.
The coincidence, if it was a co-incidence, of Money departing the SST the day before Ian Steward’s article was published is truly amazing. As is Garth McVicar’s “war of words” polished turd excuse, which just happened to be posted on the home page of the “Trusts” website, with a link to the Marlborough express (via a very strange url).
Of course if one then went to the trouble and googled (who normally would?) the title of the article one was able to locate a more complete version of the story that had been published in Fairfax’s Dominion, an article that confirmed LF’s suspicion that there was more to Money’s departure than the mere “war of words” claimed by McVicar.
Sensible Sentencing Trust: Garth McVicar’s election bid cause of division
January 8 2015
A clash over political aspirations has been revealed as the key reason why Sensible Sentencing Trust’s ex-deputy Ruth Money suddenly split from the victims’ lobby group late last year.
And the revelation has prompted a war of words between Money and the face of the trust, Garth McVicar.
Speaking for the first time about her departure, Money said yesterday she left the trust last November because she opposed trust founder Garth McVicar’s decision to stand as Conservative Party candidate in the Napier electorate at last September’s general election.
She warned McVicar against joining sides with the party’s controversial leader, Colin Craig, she said.
“My views were certainly not aligned with that of the Conservative Party.”
She said yesterday that it was vital for advocacy groups, such as the trust, to remain apolitical, which were views she publicly raised when McVicar first announced his political candidacy.
But told of Money’s comments, McVicar fired back: “I am surprised Ruth said that, as I kept her informed as discussions with CP were in progress and she never told me and I got no vibe that she disagreed with my decision.”
Last August, McVicar announced he would step down from his leadership role at the trust to join the Conservative campaign.
Yesterday he said he joined the party because of its tough policy on paedophiles.
“Ruth was as passionate as I about this issue and I would have thought she would have told me if she did not agree with my stance,” he said.
At the time McVicar went into politics, Money publicly wished him “all the best for his campaign” in a press statement on the trust’s website, which also announced she would replace him as its national spokeswoman.
“Garth has made a bold personal decision to seek a parliamentary seat with the Conservative Party for the 2014 election. We’re very sorry to lose him,” she said.
However, the party polled poorly at the September 20 election.
McVicar ditched the Conservative Party and returned to the trust he started in 2001, resuming as its leader – while Money announced she would step down from her role.
At the time, McVicar said their parting of ways was amicable and he thanked Money for her hard work as an unpaid volunteer for the previous three years.
“Ruth remains a supporter of the SST cause and we wish her all the very best as she ventures on to the next chapter of her life,” he said. “We are enormously grateful to Ruth for her commitment and dedication over the last three years.”
Money was reluctant yesterday to highlight her reasons for the split because she feared damaging the trust’s reputation, and hoped victims would continue to turn to it for support.
Next month, she would start fundraising for two Christchurch women’s legal battle to overturn court-ordered name suppression of their sex abuser, and hoped the case would led to law changes.
– The Dominion Post
This then explains the Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) websites use of the very strange url, a url that takes visitors to a small statement, albeit a highly polished turd, produced by McVicar himself.
So why was Garth McVicar hiding the Dominion story (in its entirety) from those viewing the Sensible Sentencing Trust website? Why in fact was it not showing on the home page of the Fairfax site “Stuff.co.nz”
LF suspects that there is a great deal more behind Money’s decision to quit the Trust and whilst it no doubt had a lot to do with McVicar’s political affiliations it likely had very little to do with McVicar’s half-arsed attempt at running for parliament. New Zealand’s general election last year has long gone, surely any rumblings and petty quarrels between McVicar and Money would have been sorted out long ago. Further had she actually resigned in November, as claimed, why then was no one told of the news at the time? Why, only now, has this so-called “war of words” been made public?
There have been rumblings of a different kind for years. Accusations against both McVicar and the “Trust” of right-wing political leanings, of political collaboration and spin doctoring, of behaviour, if true, that would be seriously inappropriate for a trust the likes of the SST to be involved it.
So then the big question is, has McVicar sold his soul and the Serious Sentencing Trust to the faceless men who inhabit the murky world of political coverup?
The fact is, McVicar actually declared his own hand when he decided to run for political office, he also demonstrated that he has seriously questionable political leanings beyond the fact that he personally aspires to hold public office.
That alone makes him unsuitable to lead the Sensible Sentencing Trust. One should not forget that the “Trust” was actually established during a very large public outcry over the Governments treatment of the father of a victim of crime, a rape and murder case, to have that same man released from prison, not the other way round. Since then the Trusts work has become less about “sensible sentencing” and justice and much more focused on, some would say obsessed with, the pursuit of paedophiles alone.
Despite all the early media noise around Money having taken up the mantle in the Dudley case, where did McVicar really stand on this particular issue? As far as we can see there’s not been so much as a fucking peep out of the bastard.
In fact LF is of the view that McVicar has turned the SST into his own personal play thing, a political toy, to do with as he, and he alone, pleases. That then brings us back to the Dudley case and Ian Steward’s article. Steward did not seek comment from either Ruth Money or Garth McVicar – Why exactly was that?
After all it was Money, using the credibility and clout of the Sensible Sentencing Trust’s name that stepped up to the mark, taking full responsibility for handling a file that otherwise would have had sweet fuck all to do with her.
Ian Steward fails to address another of those elephants in the room. If Ruth Money has left the SST, and she was the one who, using her position within the SST, took delivery of the Stephen Dudley court file who then, on behalf of the SST, has now taken over responsibility for ensuring that Stephen Dudley and his family receive justice….guaranteeing that the case will be investigated, just as Money had promised?
McVicar is obviously not interested, again we’ve not heard so much as a fucking peep from the man.
The above cleverly dumbed-down furore is the point at which one can rightly start to look for a very dodgy connection between the Dudley case and Money’s sudden resignation from the Sensible Sentencing Trust. The attempt by McVicar to spin the story, to do a spot of turd polishing, in the hope that he and the SST can somehow manage to dance around the obvious questions that have not been answered, which may have fooled some, including at last count at least two journalists, but frankly it has not fooled Team LF.
As for Ruth Money, well despite her having received the heavily redacted court file, the file that Stephen Dudley’s father has now publicly stated has material that should be of serious concern to the public, she has said absolutely nothing about it, now how strange is that? Especially given Ian Steward’s journalistic effort.
In fact the only thing Ruth Money is on record as having said is that “Next month, she would start fundraising for two Christchurch women’s legal battle to overturn court-ordered name suppression of their sex abuser, and hoped the case would led to law changes”, and even then it was a statement she had made for an apparently unrelated article, also published by Fairfax but written by Deirdre Mussen.
So what about the Dudley case? Absolutely no mention of that, or for that matter what Money intends doing or has done with the all important court file!
Are not Stephens grieving family deserving of justice too? Why then has McVicar failed to publicly address this specific issue, after all was it not his precious Sensible Sentencing Trust that sought and then obtained the court file, with the promise, implied or otherwise, that it would be looked at?
Stephens father is certainly convinced, as are team LF, that the case needs some pretty serious public scrutiny. As Stephens father, Brent, is quoted by Ian Steward as saying; “a complete miscarriage of justice. If the general public were aware of what transpired on the night, I’m pretty sure the country would be up in arms.“
The fact that the country would undoubtedly be up in arms at what has transpired in this case is a clue perhaps to McVicar’s silence and Money’s sudden departure. McVicar has, there is absolutely no doubt, become part and parcel of the seriously dodgy Kiwi political class. In fact, it seems to us that McVicar has always aspired to that end.
We certainly now know that he aspires to a power far greater than that which the Sensible Sentencing Trust could ever hope to have offered him, and yet he is back running the shop…..again why? Could the answer be as simple as that fact that McVicar has become a safe pair of hands for the Governments agenda?
Often a little truth can be found in the biggest of lies. This is perhaps the case with story of Ruth Money’s departure;
“She said yesterday that it was vital for advocacy groups, such as the trust, to remain apolitical“
Now whether Ruth Money was genuinely “reluctant to highlight her reasons”, or whether she did in fact warn Garth McVicar before he decided to run for parliament is somewhat irrelevant, what is however now very relevant is that McVicar’s political leanings have obviously now become a big problem, even if only in the concerned mind of Ruth Money. So concerned in fact that she saw the potential for this perceived political bias to damage the trusts reputation;
“Money was reluctant yesterday to highlight her reasons for the split because she feared damaging the trust’s reputation, and hoped victims would continue to turn to it for support.”
So what was it that suddenly raised the imminent spectre of Garth McVicar’s political bias? Could it perhaps have been that he had been recruited to a political cause, a cabal who are determined to see the Dudley murder case “swept under the carpet”?
Frankly, given the way that this story has played out LF suspects that this is exactly what has transpired. That McVicar has been tapped on the shoulder by one of his new political mate’s, perhaps even promised something in return, list MP perhaps, so long as he can extract the Sensible Sentencing Trust from the promises its made in the Dudley case.
It’s an argument that is completely plausible, especially knowing how those lurking in New Zealand’s corridors of power operate – Ruth Money arguably then given ample cause to walked away to fight another day.
With the obvious in mind McVicar, in the absence of any plausible explanation from him, should be treated with a great deal of suspicion from here on in, as should the Sensible Sentencing Trust.
Clearly the trust is not being run in a healthy way that’s consistent with transparency and honesty, the very principles that are expected from any healthy body or justice system, the same justice system that the Sensible Sentencing Trust was established in 2001 to challenge. Did McVicar ever in fact resign from the Trust himself, if not why not?
The question now needs to be asked, has New Zealand’s Sensible Sentencing Trust become yet another “Trojan horse”, a vehicle or proxy for a government and a justice system that’s in serious disarray? Have the events that resulted in Ruth Money’s sudden departure become yet another of the “things being swept under the carpet.”
The article penned by Ian Steward is an abject failure. Not only has he not asked any of the obviously important questions. He has failed, intentionally or otherwise, to obtain answers to at least one dangerous question; have the Sensible Sentencing Trust, Garth McVicar and Ruth Money, become the latest victims in a massive police and judicial coverup? Stewards abject failures then poses another question, are the mainstream media complicit.
The fact is that Stephen’s father, and anyone close to the case, including McVicar and Money, know full well that the police investigation and the political maneuverings behind the scenes have comprised seriously corrupt behaviour, criminal offending in fact, corruption that has also inveigled High Court Justice Helen Winkelspincter. No amount of spin doctoring will convince the victims in this case, or their supporters, otherwise.
All who have played a part in this seriously corrupt criminal game will ultimately pay the price for their nefarious involvement, it may not however be decided by the New Zealand Courts, rather one of the Hagues international tribunals responsible for human rights abuses.
It seems to us that unwitting New Zealander’s have stood by and let successive governments become so used to manipulation and outright corruption that they can no longer be relied on to see the obvious, or for that matter ensure that Justice is administered without fear or favour.
As for McVicar, well everything these days has a use-by or best before date, the question is, has Garth McVicar reached his?
In this country many who in the publics eye look to be doing good and anti what ever it is are in fact one themselves. This guy is no exception
If McVicar and the SST really believed in sentencing reform, they would advocate for legalizing cannabis and scrapping the Misuse of Drugs Act. The fact that they don’t tells you everything you need to know about this crew.
Good site, keep digging the dirt. Would it be too much to ask for the correct use of the apostrophe here? Bad grammar detracts from credibility.
Anybody who is so right wing like Garth McVicar has something to hide, just like the former police prosecuter and ex-Christian Heritage party head Graham Capil!
Back in late 80s (or possibly early 90s) I went on a march to Parliament protesting light sentences (I’m a left voter) . This was before SST was formed. I think things in this regard have improved a lot since then. However, I think SST has nothing in common with this original movement and find it to be an unpleasant right wing organisation that in no way appropriately fulfils the role it claims for itself. Like you point out, it is a one man band ripe for the picking to become a trojan horse (or should that be “shell company”) for the present government. The Dudleys certainly shouldn’t place any faith in it. Money is quite correct in saying SST should be apolitical but that horse bolted a long time ago. As for the article, MSM journalists are a very timid lot so one has to read between the lines as LF does. BTW, I enjoy LF’s hard boiled gumshoe writing style.
Reality is McVicar has been pretty hopeless over time – yeah sure he gets things in the news, but in reality what real change has he made to bail problems, violent crimes, stopping repeat offenders ? ZERO is what. In my view he showed his true colours by teaming up with Colin Craig – and by that i mean backing a loser who is hardly ever going to be main stream, so how he ever thought he would make progress in Parliament is beyond me. If he cant convince the Nats or Labour that NZ has a massive systemmic problem on its hands then we are all doomed. and with Judges on the bench like Winklemann who let murderers walk free……….. well enough said
McVicar is just a legend in his own lunch hour.
The Dudley’s have undoubtedly been dropped into a politically charged decision – looks like a Judge needs to resign and 2 scum bags need a long stretch in prison. I hope the Dudley’s get the outcome they deserve – NZs judicial system is a farce.
Once again the NZ Police and the NZ judicial system combine to make a mockery of Justice, NZ really is full of Sheep. Corrupt Police, Corrupt Courts and they elect a Corrupt Government!!