With the verdict out on the trial of Clint Rickards et al and Louise Richards (and make no mistake, she was on trial here too) it should be possible now to comment on the case and on the verdict.
On the face of it, not guilty on all counts seems the correct legal verdict. The moral verdict however looks a whole lot different. Rickard and co may not be guilty of rape, but they do seem guilty of being unpleasant and swinish human beings. Pigs. Not somebody you would want knocking at your door asking for a favour when you're home alone. Not someone you want as Police Commissioner.
However. Our problem as observers and commentators is that too much of the evidence could not make the media (by order of the judge), and in any case we don't have the advantage the jury has of seeing all the witnesses, all the evidence and the entire case of both prosecution and defence. What was not heard? How bad was it? Against whom was it directed? With that significant caveat, from what could be seen it does at least suggest the jury got it right. It's now our own job to make our own moral judgement, and the job of someone else to decide on Rickards's future in the police force.
Does the jury's not guilty verdict mean that Rickard should get his job back? He's been found not guilty of rape, but shown horribly guilty of poor judgement, awful behaviour, thuggish ignorance. Is that the sort of man you want as Police Commissioner? As the head of the only organisation in the country legally allowed to use force? And if Rickard became Commissioner, would you like to be one the police investigators who helped put together the prosecution's case against him?
TAGS: Law, New_Zealand