Sentencing group to march


Dunedin members of the Sensible Sentencing Trust will lead a peaceful march to the Dunedin courthouse on Monday, to coincide with the sentencing of the killers of 3-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri.
The boy was killed by carers Tania Shailer (26) and David Haerewa (43), who were initially charged with murder, but pleaded guilty in the High Court at Rotorua in May to the lesser charges of manslaughter and ill-treating a child.
The pair are due to be sentenced on Monday.
The violent death of Moko at the hands of adults who were supposed to be caring for him has sparked outrage across the country.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust is organising dozens of marches in New Zealand centres to mark the sentencing, to highlight the issue of child abuse, and to lobby for a law change to outlaw the practice of ‘‘plea bargaining’’ negotiations.
Co-ordinators of the Dunedin SST march, Amy Telfer Chiles and Robert Washick, said it was important to ‘‘shine a light’’ on the issue.
Ms Telfer Chiles has personal experience of the court system, after her sister Vicki Telfer was murdered in Caversham in 2007.
‘‘We must stand up for the victims,’’ she said.
‘‘The reasons why the charge was reduced from murder to manslaughter hasn’t been explained. I think it is important that the law is tightened up.’’
A recent arrival from the United States, Mr Washick said New Zealand was ‘‘a paradise’’ and he wanted to ensure the country avoided going down a ‘‘bad road’’.
More than 250 people had signed up to take part in Monday’s march and more were signing up daily.
The event will begin at 9am in the Octagon with karakia and speeches, before marchers depart about 9.40am to make their way along Princes St to the High Court in High St.
Once the march arrives, there will be a karakia and a couple of minutes’ silence, before the crowd disperses.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust advocates on behalf of the victims of serious violent and/ or sexual crime and homicide in New Zealand, with a view to highlighting the need for effective sentencing and reducing re-offending.