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Prosecution A Step In The Right Direction

Posted on 18 Jun 2009

ACT New Zealand Law & Order Spokesman David Garrett today welcomed news that a private prosecution has been laid against Police Commissioner Howard Broad, Department of Corrections Chief Barry Matthews and others over Graeme Burton's rampage in 2007.

"This is a major step forward in holding those responsible accountable for public safety," Mr Garrett said.

"While the litany of disasters that preceded Burton's murder of Karl Kuchenbecker and his injuring two others is relatively well known, no one has ever been held accountable - all the major players in the Police, Corrections and the Probation Service at the time are still in their jobs.

"This is despite a damning report by the Auditor-General on quite separate failings within the Probation Service released in February 2008.

"This move - an attempt to hold these individuals responsible for bungling Burton's management under the Health and Safety in Employment Act - is unprecedented, and demonstrates frustration over the continued incompetence that plagues the management of parolees.

"Several months ago State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie told Parliament's Law & Order Select Committee that Corrections Head Barry Matthews was ultimately accountable for failures on the part of those reporting to him. Probation Service head Katrina Casey was accountable for failings by staff in her division of the department. Despite that admission, both remain in their jobs while a culture of corruption and failure continue within their department.

"While this private prosecution may ultimately fail on legal grounds, it will at least go some way toward exposing in more depth what occurred following Burton's release - and maybe, just maybe, it will encourage the department to be more careful next time," Mr Garrett said.

ENDS

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