Friday, May 02, 2008

"Ban the yobs": Which yobs?

Police2308 The Herald has the news that the Clark Government is about to introduce to parliament this year "a British-style behaviour order to curb anti-social crime."

The proposal, which would establish a scheme for Rotorua [allowing police to issue "community protection orders" against people convicted of a range of mainly property-related offences], has previously been rejected by politicians because its aim - to bar criminals from the city's central business district - had problems complying with the Bill of Rights.

No problem to an MP like Steve Chadwick, the bill's co-sponsor with Annette King, and the main promoter of the ban on smoking in bars -- which has equal difficulties complying with the Bill of Rights.

First of all, we should ask why this law is necessary.  Why are people who've been convicted of  property-related offences free to walk the streets anyway?  Answer: Because the courts don't take burglary and other property-related offences seriously anymore .  Is that good enough?  No, it sure as hell isn't.  Do we need more bad law to fix the result of bad justice?  No, our lawmakers should be concentrating instead on fixing these fundamental failures of our justice system that much more urgently need addressing.

Remember that law, good law, is intended to protect me from you and you from me. Specifically, it is intended to protect you against any initiation of force or fraud by me, and me from any initiation of force or fraud by you.  That's all good law should do, and when it doesn't do what it should be doing, which in this case is to protect us from criminals who've already been convicted, then we start to see laws like this that start to stretch the boundaries of what good law should be doing.

This works both ways.

There is an expectation that if you violate good law, that you will be handled under due process, and that the punishment will fit the crime. This is all part of what it means to have objective law. This is what freedom looks like. This is what Annette King wants to overturn with what is called in the UK 'Anti-Social Behaviour Orders' (ASBOs), which give police the power to deliver summary justice, and courts the power to turn minor offences into a five-year stay in jail if they're arbitrarily deemed to be anti-social.

She means it. We should take this seriously.  If yobs strolling town centres are dangerous enough, then out of control politicians using potentially uncontrollable law to do us over is far more dangerous, since these are the very people who are supposed to protect our rights.  Frankly, when it comes to yobs, the ones in the parliament are far more dangerous to our rights than the ones strolling the streets of our cities.

But as I say, it should work both ways. There's also an expectation that when criminals are convicted, then they lose certain rights (after all, if they don't respect them, why should we).  In which case, and only if safeguards can be put in place to ensure these orders can be applied to convicted criminals, then the orders could be justified -- but that's a big 'if,' especially with the likes of Steve Chadwick involved, who wouldn't know a proper right if she fell over one in the street.

Now having said all that, you might already have observed that the issue doesn't even arise in the case or privately owned property.  This bill is designed to to bar criminals from a city's central business district, and since it requires government action to effect such a ban there are attendant Bill of Rights issues. But just think how it works when a shopping mall wants to bar undesirables from their property . . .

NB: You can read the BBC's ASBO Chronicles to

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17 Comments:

Blogger Callum said...

"a British-style behaviour order to curb anti-social crime."

Britain is an example of what NOT to do when you want to lower crime levels!

5/02/2008 11:26:00 am  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

This law is an appalling proposal...further attempts at good old fashioned Communism these people believe in.

5/02/2008 03:13:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just think how it works when a shopping mall wants to bar undesirables from their property

It's a disgrace - they try and slap trespass notices on kids just because they don't like the cut of their gib. I have some funny stories about mall security in respect of my own kids. So one day, Roger Finch, one day ;-)

5/02/2008 03:23:00 pm  
Blogger Rebel Radius said...

They have completely FAILED to get crime under control, so now they are looking for any excuse to book the easiest prey. This is nothing short of sheer desperation for the police to actually catch someone without (the police) having both hands tied behind their backs.

If shooting at sitting ducks is what is necessary to achieve this and make the APPALLING conviction to crime ratio go up a tad, so be it.

This is thoroughly disgusting.

5/02/2008 05:03:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Reb

Yup. Nicely put.

LGM

5/02/2008 05:10:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

"just think how it works when a shopping mall wants to bar undesirables from their property"

Not certain I follow where you are coming from with that comment. If the owner of a shopping mall doesn't want kids hanging around his shopping mall, isn't it his right to tell them to leave his shopping mall?

LGM

5/02/2008 05:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Fat Girl said...

Next time, they will be banning fat cunts like me (including Parekura Horomia), homosexuals and gay men from setting foot in public places.

5/02/2008 06:30:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No it isn't his right LGM - not morally or legally. If there is provable harm then it is his right.

I am aware that some libertarians want to set civil rights back 100 years and have "No Blacks or Jews, or Fat People" signs in malls.

Young people are the most discriminiated against group in society. People don't want them to drive, to wear hoodies, to go to the mall, to walk around the street, to look in shop windows etc etc.. Then they wonder why anti-social behaviour comes down the pike...you reap what you sow in many cases.

And it's more than a little amusing to me that those chest-beating "manly men" who want never ending war in the Middle East are the first ones to scurry to their cars when they see a teenager in the mall carpark.

5/03/2008 02:44:00 pm  
Blogger Luke H said...

http://pacificempire.org.nz/2007/04/02/teen-repellent-unethical/

5/03/2008 04:43:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

"And it's more than a little amusing to me that those chest-beating "manly men" who want never ending war in the Middle East are the first ones to scurry to their cars when they see a teenager in the mall carpark."
Not that I've ever seen someone scurrying to his/her car at the sight of teenagers, but...
Consider for a moment that the majority of violent assholes in our society are teenagers and a law-abiding citizen--if he survives the thugs--who defends himself is likely to be the one on trial, it's not surprising that avoidance becomes the safest option.
Or are the grown-ups supposed to risk being beaten and robbed, simply to make law-abiding teenagers feel better?

5/03/2008 04:54:00 pm  
Anonymous James said...

"No it isn't his right LGM - not morally or legally. If there is provable harm then it is his right."

It most certainly IS his right to move them on morally for WHATEVER reason he wants to as its HIS property.Because it IS his moral right it should follow that it is also his legal right....but we have screwed up law in NZ...

"I am aware that some libertarians want to set civil rights back 100 years and have "No Blacks or Jews, or Fat People" signs in malls."

Its called defending the right to liberty you dipshit.You think its fine for people to have other people forced upon them on their OWN property?

The right to liberty is the right to discriminate....for whatever reason you may have....regardless of wheather that reason is rational or not.People have the right to be wrong and make bad choices....a free and civilised society upholds that right....an uncivilised and brutal one does not...

5/04/2008 12:30:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry but property rights do not trump civil rights protection in this country, so you are quite wrong. Ask a lawyer if you don't believe me. I have.

That's one of the benefits of living in a Westernised country I guess. Maybe those who don't like it should move to one of the hated Mid East places...eh.

5/04/2008 03:40:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Someone too embarrassed to stand by her opinion said, "Sorry but property rights do not trump civil rights protection in this country, so you are quite wrong. Ask a lawyer if you don't believe me. I have."

In fact, if you do ask your lawyer, she'll tell you that everything trumps property rights in this country.

Doesn't make it right, especially when convicted criminals are given greater civil rights that taxpayers and property owners.

Nor does it actually deliver genuine rights, since (as I'm sure you know) without property rights no other genuine rights are possible:

You can't have true free speech without a 'turangawaewae' -- secure place to stand. You can't have true freedom of the press without secure ownership of printers, ink and distribution networks. You can't have true freedom of opportunity unless the rights of business owners to hire and fire on their own property are secured.

And, of course, you can't ensure your own security (your right to freedom of action) and that of your customers if you're banned from barring those people you've identified as troublemakers.

As James said above, it's entirely possible you might have misidentified the troublemakers (and I've sometimes been mistaken for a troublemaker myself) but at least it's you who bears the consequences for that.

5/04/2008 04:27:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your denial of women's (putting us in inverted commas) and children's rights (you don't think they have any - Montessori on one hand - bash 'em on the other) makes you part of the problem.

I am currently involved with Police Youth Aid and CYPS in a thesis about Youth Offending - hence I don't have much time for blogging ATM. The focus is on individualism - and I'll wager I have more of an opportunity to promote Objectivism with this project than you have on this blog.

You tell me Libz Youth Policy and I will pass it on.

What do you think drives youth offending? And don't say welfare - because more and more rich kids are offending. I think it is alienation that starts in the school system.

I am meeting with CYPS at 4pm tomorrow so let me have your ideas (as long as they don't involve hang 'em high type thinking) if you want.


I'll ignore the embarrassed part - most of your commenters use pseudonyms so I imagine they are embarrassed of their real names.

5/04/2008 04:48:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

"What do you think drives youth offending? And don't say welfare - because more and more rich kids are offending."

Welfare. And parents who don't give a shit.

And in the case of the "rich kids", idiot parents who do not, or will not, find time to spend with their kids; their own socialising being much more important than raising the children they chose to have instead. Such a bugger when the kids get past that young, cute age and require ongoing time and effort ... much easier to financially indulge them via quick buy-offs.

And it couldn't possibly be that there are bugger all consequences if caught, eh? Not to mention few, if any, boundaries within the home, that ensure most of us do behave with civility in the first place.

Not much.

What do you reckon, Callum?

5/05/2008 10:13:00 am  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

Oh James...that sounds so amusing.

"Civil Rights" is a code word for giving legitimacy to all the misfits, losers, nerds and 'wet' people within a Country...all the people with no social skills, personal problems and imaginary injustices.

The sort of chaps you would be too embarrassed to invite to dinner for fear your 'normal' friends were horrified you even knew such people.

As such it creates a form of totalitarianism for the rest of us, and that is wrong.

New Zealand will be a truly free Country when we abolish all 'Civil Rights' laws and shopkeepers are free to put up a "No Black, Jews or Fat People" sign.

The other positive spinoff from this is the market at work...because the next day the shop down the street will put a sign up saying "We welcome Jews, Blacks and Fat people"..and money will talk.

5/05/2008 10:18:00 am  
Blogger Callum said...

"What do you reckon, Callum?"

I'd have to agree with ya, Sus. Regardless of who picks up the bill, if bad behaviour isn't met with appropriate consequences it'll continue willy-nilly.

Anyway, rich parents indulging their idiotic kids is no different from a government-run welfare state, to the kids. The only real difference is when the parents have run out of money, and the kids truly have to pay (but then the government will step in to continue keeping the stupidity levels up).

anon: If you lose business because you don't like gays, fat people, etc, YOU're the one losing money. Last time I checked, businesses WANTED customers!

5/05/2008 05:25:00 pm  

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