Tanner – a professional chef who has still (been) unable to return to work – said the assault came on an evening of celebration with his partner Charleen Trass with the couple having just realised years of hard work to buy their first home. “We had been working so hard to achieve our goals. It was a rare night out,” said Tanner.
The Kerikeri couple had bought tickets to go to the Marley NZ All Stars Show, a reggae collective playing at Waipapa’s Kainui Road Vineyard. They had arranged care for their four children and were going with family and friends to the midday soundcheck – care of tickets won by Trass’ sister – before the evening’s entertainment. [NZ Herald]
“He walked over and sucker-punched this guy [Derek Tanner]- knocked him out on his feet. It was a real vicious punch and he hit the ground with a thump. I was 10 metres away and I felt it through the ground. “It was violent, it was vicious and it was bad. And I knew it was bad instantly when I saw him crumple to the ground.”
Locke disappeared into the crowd as King moved fast towards Tanner, who was unconscious before he hit the ground and had tumbled head-first down a slope. King put Tanner into the recovery position, called for an ambulance and checked his vital signs. The blow was so severe – and the fall to the ground so solid – that it was 10 minutes before he showed any sign of regaining consciousness.
The damage and impact upon the life of the victim has been considerable:
Tanner was discharged then readmitted to hospital in Whangarei where a CAT scan revealed massive damage to his head. The punch had shattered his eye socket, sending splinters of bone through his sinuses and beyond. Doctors believed it was the fall to the ground which caused the skull fracture. “I’m lucky it wasn’t concrete or I wouldn’t be talking to you now.”
The year since the assault has seen repeated surgery to correct the damage – titanium gauze and a plate used to reconstruct the eye socket. He had double-vision for two months until surgery corrected it, with the warning he could wake blind in one eye. There has also been ongoing physiotherapy to try and repair compacted bones in his neck and shoulder. And the damage went beyond the physical. “For the first six months I was a mess. I stayed in my room, hid from people.
Perpetrator Locke has since pleaded guilty. Meanwhile the MP, Matt King has not been sitting on his hands:
Since coming to Parliament in September after knocking NZ First leader Winston Peters out of Northland, the new MP has picked up on work done last term by National MPs and drafted a private members bill to amend the Crimes Act in relation to “coward’s punch”-style attacks ending in death. The bill – which gets drawn by lucky dip – would introduce a new charge to the Crimes Act of assault causing death, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The current likely charge of manslaughter is a life sentence and King was hopeful it would provide an alternative charge that would encourage guilty pleas, while still carrying a hefty sentence. He has support from fellow National MP Alfred Ngaro who said family members had been affected by “coward’s punch” attacks. A nephew had been attacked from behind, knocked unconscious and robbed after stopping to help someone who was out cold on the footpath.
Now consider this: Labour’s Justice Minister, Andrew Little has announced that he wants to reduce prison numbers in NZ. He wants to shorten sentences. He wants more non-custodial sentences. He wants to keep people like this perpetrator, Jaydin Locke out on bail to continue to prey on vulnerable people for gratuitous pleasure. Justice Minister Little believes, you see, that it’s not really Locke’s fault.
The blame for Locke’s crime falls (conveniently) upon “society”–which means that Locke is innocent, really. Society made him do it! Therefore society must be made to pay. Little’s strategy to ensure society pays a hefty price for Locke’s crimes is to ensure Locke stays out of prison and out in the community so he can wreak more vengeance on innocents. That way, society gets what is coming to it.
Andrew Little has a name for this mad perversity. He calls it justice. We have a suggestion to make. Let Andrew Little become a surety, a living bail bond for Jaydin Locke and all other criminals benefiting from Little’s dangerous naive idealism. If Locke (under the proposals of the Justice Minster) were to get out on bail and offend again, Little would then be arrested in Locke’s place and made to serve out Locke’s full term. That’s what we mean by a “living bail bond”. Alternatively, if Little were to regard that as too long and harsh a penalty, then he could be given an alternative. Since he apparently cares not at all about the victim, he should be made to take his place He should be strung up between two posts and a free, no recourse punch be delivered by Locke to Little’s head.
Only then would there there be any hope of Little getting up close and personal with actual justice.
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