Monday, 3 April 2006

Rickards v Nicholas

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


  1. I agree, but I must admit I'm somewhat surprised by this post. We get a big yawn here when we learn that our education minister used to talk to girls while they were showering and he stared at them (according to some of the girls), and now some moral indignation about consensual sex of every kind, a topic you're so in favor of!

    There's still much to learn about libertarianism I suppose...

  2. Considering that the 'thuggish' behaviour, as you call it, happened 20 or so years ago, I'm sure personalities and attitudes might have changed since then.

    Didn't you do stupid things when you were young, that you look back on now and feel somewhat perturbed that you could even do that back then? You know you'd never do that these days.

    Would you want to be judged for something you did and regret 20 years ago?

    Based on your post, I guess you wouldn't mind at all. :-)

  3. Alan wrote:
    Didn't you do stupid things when you were young, that you look back on now and feel somewhat perturbed that you could even do that back then? You know you'd never do that these days.

    I reply:
    Um, you might care to put that question to Bernard McGrath, who I'm sure will have many years in prison to feel perturbed at his 'historical' scumbaggery. The Police expended considerable time and resources investigating, prosecuting, and securing the extradition from Australia of a man whose alleged sexual offending happened three decades back.

    And I don't recall any disquiet from Messers Rickards et. al.

  4. Anonymous, I cannot remember the case. Did it involve minors? If so there is a big difference in the historical allegations.oqizy

  5. Chuck said... "Did it involve minors? If so there is a big difference in the historical allegations."

    Why is there a big difference Chuck? 20 years does not change facts. Perhaps personalities and memories have changed but if these guys committed a crime, then they should go through the usual processes. The court found that no crime was committed.

    ... Now this gets me to the delicate point of people handing out pamphlets with some statements about the accused (which I'm sure quite a number of us knew before the trial) - PC, I'm looking forward to your thoughts on "free speech versus information suppression". From what I know about the suppressed information, [deleted by PC as being a little too delicate]. No information was suppressed about the prosecution's background, or was it????

  6. yalnikim, most adults have been raped. That is if one accepts the militant feminist definition of rape - any sexual encounter you later regret. Rape used to have to have involved force. Now one does not just have carry condoms but a breath tester and a consent form. In an ordinary case of date rape it would be very difficult to prove even if a complaint was laid the next day. In the Nicholas case the only evidence was the complainant’s testimony. Some people believe that after a period of time rape complaints should not be accepted. I do not agree. However, there should be a prima facie case to answer. In this case jurors would wonder why did a young woman – not a child – allow this to go on on more than one occasion. In the case of children I do not think this question should be asked.

  7. Chuck, based on your first couple of lines, which seems to me to indicate considerable bias, I had to wonder whether it was worth reading further. You did, however, make two good points that should be addressed:
    Firstly - what is "force"? This is not meant for you to answer but it is, I guess, what the jury would have been being asked.
    Secondly - I have not followed this case, at all, so have no comment on whether the complainants testimony was the only evidence. However, there obviously was a prima facie case, hence there was a trial (where the men were found not guilty).
    The time at which the alleged incident took place should have no bearing on whether a case should be presented to the court, no matter what age the complainant is. Only the facts should determine this.


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