‘Schoolyard Bully’ Tag Undermines Serious Violent Crime

Monday, July 8, 2013

The suggestion by Victoria University Criminologist John Pratt that second striker Elijah Whaanga is nothing more than a ‘schoolyard bully’ who is being unfairly punished by the three strikes regime is absolute rubbish, ACT Party President John Boscawen said today.

Mr Pratt made the comments on Radio New Zealand’s Nine To Noon show today.

“The so-called ‘schoolyard bully’ is, in reality, a violent young man with over 72 convictions.   He is exactly the type of criminal three strikes was intended to target,” Mr Boscawen said.

“Mr Whaanga’s first strike was for two aggravated robberies where he made threats of violence while armed and hit one victim over the head numerous times for $68 and a skateboard.

“His second strike and final warning was for another two aggravated robberies where once again he attacked two separate victims.

“Mr Pratt tries to make excuses by focusing on what Mr Whaanga took, claiming it is unfair for someone to be sentenced to a second strike for stealing a mere $68 and a skateboard.   It’s not what he took, but the violence that he used to do it which is the issue.

“Three Strikes targets New Zealand’s worst violent repeat offenders to keep them off our streets.

“Mr Whaanga now has two and a half years, while he is serving his sentence, to address his problems and become a productive citizen.  If he doesn’t change his ways, and commits another strike offence, he will go to jail for a very long time,” Mr Boscawen said.