Monday, 11 April 2011

German Mediation in Shalit Affair Faces Failure

This is a sad story. The mediator was apparently well respected by the parties, but the recent political events in the Arab world have tainted the process, and the mediator has lost the confidence of Hamas. The soldier is a human being, and missed by family. Hamas apparently feel powerless without him as a bargaining chip. But when a mediator has lost the confidence of a party then the negotiation loses the important element of good faith brokering. To me however, they should not give up the mediation-all the other alternatives are too ghastly. I would happily volunteer to do this, although an obscure New Zealander is more likely to attract derision unfortunately. But any peace which can be obtained is better than rockets and mortars.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Neuroscience and crime

A recent article on neuroscience and crime is well worth reading, from the Daily Telegraph. I quote from this below:-

"Currently, our patterns of punishment are founded on the concepts of personal volition and the attendant culpability. But a shift in our understanding of individual differences suggests a move toward prison sentences tailored to the risk of recidivism rather than the desire for revenge.
Some people will say that bringing science into sentencing removes its humanity. But as it stands now, research shows that ugly people get longer sentences than beautiful people, and psychiatrists and parole boards, when tested, have no predictive power in guessing who will reoffend.
Beyond modulating sentences, a deeper understanding of the brain will allow us to move beyond treating incarceration as a one-size-fits-all solution. In most countries, prisons have become de facto mental health care systems. It is more cost-effective, and less likely to encouragecriminal behaviour, to divert the mentally ill to mental health courts designed to deal with them."

Friday, 1 April 2011

Irony and the Court of Appeal

I think that humour is generally frowned on in court judgments, and Justice Kirby wrote a paper condemning the inappropriate use of humour and of anything but a dour commentary. The Court of Appeal has either offended against this deliberately by the use of irony (which I hope is the case) or, and I hope this is not the case, are grossly out of touch with reality. What attracted my attention was a sentencing decision relating to aggravated robberies in South Auckland. Apparently Judge Wade had, in sentencing decisions, made comments that there was altogether too much of this and the sentences should be increased. Following the lead on this, Judge Andree-Wiltons imposed a stiff sentence saying that this should be the policy.

The Court of Appeal then said in CA493/2010 Christofides v R COA   01 April 2011, that

 "We observe at the outset that Judge Wade appears to have intended his comments in Leatinuu to operate as a warning to persons who might be tempted to rob retail shops in South Auckland after 13 November 2009. The robbery for which Mr Christofides was to be sentenced had, however, been committed 18 months earlier. Mr Christofides therefore had no opportunity to reflect upon Judge Wade’s words before he decided to carry out the robbery of the Meadowlands Superette".

Res ipse loquitor

I am sure this sentencing deciison will be eagerly read in the Otara Shopping center as they plan their next robbery.