Via Abyss2Hope, it looks like we’ve got yet another rape apologist judge on our hands. This one is from New Zealand, and proclaimed in open court that she wishes she didn’t have to punish a sex offender, because other than beating and attempting to rape a woman in a dark alley, he’s a good person.
A visibly upset judge today told a teenager convicted of sexual violation: “If I had my way I would release you today, but I can’t.”
Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish spoke of the youth, naivety, and the good family background of Maia Crawford Rongonui who had attacked a young Australian woman tourist in a dark Christchurch street.
“If I had it within my power today I would release you to your family,” the judge said.
“They would ensure you would do anything not to come back to court.”
Instead, she jailed the 19-year-old for four years after he was convicted by a jury of assaulting the woman with intent to commit rape, and sexually violating her by unlawful sexual connection.
Rongonui, a shearer from Masterton, was only 17 when he committed the attack.
The judge said she was worried about the effect prison would have on the teenager.
“I have some concerns, as your mother does, about you being corrupted while in jail.”
There are several flaws of logic here. The first is the presumption that if, for the sake of argument, Rongonui was a good person, it would make him undeserving of punishment for his malicious and trauma-inducing crime. This is patently false and illogical. The second is the idea that Rongonui is not already corrupted. I fully admit that jail is not often a rehabilitative place, but to suggest that an attempted rapist is a good guy who jail will turn into a bad guy is absurd. You try to rape someone, you’re already pretty fucking corrupt. The third is that a family, however well-meaning, can necessarily prevent a person from committing rape. I do think that support systems can sometimes be integral, but if Rongonui’s family was so good at preventing him from raping, he wouldn’t be in court for an attempted rape. If they were so good at keeping him out of court, he wouldn’t have obtained the 18 convictions over 5 months that Judge Farish seems to completely disregard.
The article continues:
[Crown Prosecutor] Mrs Thomas said she believed Rongonui still did not fully accept what had happened, and the crown believed the attack had been premeditated.
Judge Farish did not accept that. She accepted the victim was vulnerable because she was a visitor to Christchurch, who had lost her way and become separated from her friends.
Rongonui was friendly and offered to show her the way to her backpackers’ hostel.
Instead, he led her down a dark inner city street, Aberdeen Street off Manchester Street.
Judge Farish said she believed Rongonui had been hopeful of a sexual encounter, and something snapped when the woman rebuffed him.
He punched her and kicked her as well as trying to remove her pants. The woman fought back and was able to escape, but semen from Rongonui was found on her clothing.
Mrs Thomas told the court the woman — now a student living on Queensland’s Gold Coast — had significant and ongoing effects from the attack.
Defence counsel Simon Shamy said Rongonui had been an immature 17-year-old at the time of the offence.
Judge Farish said Rongonui had left school at age 14 and had excelled in his work as a shearer.
But he had inexplicably come to the attention of the authorities at the age of 17, amassing 18 convictions over five months, including the two today.
And still more problems abound. First of all, it doesn’t make a difference to Rongonui’s victim and any other woman he may have attacked what his twisted, sadistic reasoning was. I personally feel no better about Rongnoui assuming that he was some deluded twit who thought a stranger would have sex with him in a dark alley, and then “snapped” when he realized how ludicrous he was being. The results are the same, so let’s cut the “crime of passion” bullshit. Secondly, Farish’s own logic points out the very reason why if she is right about Rongonui’s motive, she is wrong about everything else. As Marcella says:
If the reality in this teen is that “something snapped” then no family support will help him because his crime wasn’t caused by decision making. Instead you are positioning him as a feral animal that can’t help but attack. If he is someone who will snap every time someone rebuffs him, prison is an absolute necessity for public safety.
Or at least a mental hospital.
And for the very last time, to every judge and defense attorney out there: “immaturity” is not a defense for rape. Immaturity results in behavior like name-calling, temper tantrum throwing, and laughing at fart jokes. Not sexual assault. The only result of immaturity that has anything to do with rape is the refusal to take responsibility for one’s own actions. By that definition, virtually every rapist on the planet is immature. And if someone’s expression of their immaturity is to enact sexual violence on the people around them, they need to learn to grow up into big boys in playpens far away from the rest of us.