Friday, July 10, 2009

“He was asking for it” [update 3]

ph1va8 There’s no excuse for murder.

You can kill in self-defence if your life is in danger.  That’s justified.

You might kill by accident.  That’s manslaughter.

But if you kill because you’ve been “provoked” – an excuse being run in two recent trials – now that’s just bullshit.  It’s not killing in self-defence: a dose of the verbals is not a threat to your life. It’s not an accident: if you can’t control your anger, then you need to learn how to.

Killing when provoked is not manslaughter; it’s murder. Killing while claiming “diminished responsibility” is not manslaughter; it’s murder. In both cases, the killer has to take full responsibility for what he’s done.

There is no argument for retaining in law either the “defence” of provocation, or the defence of “diminished responsibility.”  Self-responsibility means taking responsibility for what you’ve consumed (no matter what your consumption might lead to), and taking responsibility for your actions – however angry you might have been.

Living in a civilised society means recognising that force must be barred from social relationships – even if you’re provoked; it means recognising the right to lifeeven when some arsehole makes you want to strangle them.  The right to life means what it says: the right to be protected even when you’ve just pissed off someone who has a drug habit or a short fuse.

The “defences” of provocation and “diminished responsibility” reverse the order of objective law.  Instead of protecting the victim it puts the slain on trial; instead of condemning the guilty it offers them a free pass and a grandstand; instead of inviting good court reporting it gives media ghouls a chance to contaminate the airwaves with grotesquery and narcissistic whining; instead of a simple trial based only on the facts, it grants defence lawyers a fortune in legal aid to run a defence based on narcissistic whining and flatulent self-delusion; and instead of reflecting good objective law it makes a mockery of law, of justice, and of the very right to life that good law is supposed to protect.

There is no argument for retaining the “defence” of provocation.  None at all. Murder is murder. 

“He was asking for it?”  “She was asking for it?” No, you arseholes.  They weren’t.  Sticks and stones will break your bones, but provocation isn’t going to hurt you: Get over it.  And if you can’t, if you “snap” and do your worst, then take responsibility for that instead of whining and wasting everybody’s time – while besmirching the memory of your victim.

UPDATE 1:  Philip comments (thanks Philip) that those who are interested in reading more about the issue of provocation should read the Law Commission’s pretty comprehensive report released back in 2007, which concluded “that section 169 of the Crimes Act 1961 should be repealed, thereby abolishing the partial defence of provocation in New Zealand. We believe that it will be preferable for provocation to be dealt with by judges solely as a sentencing issue.”  For once, I agree with the Law Commission.

UPDATE 2: Greg Edwards has started a Facebook group called Clayton Weatherston is a Murderer. He committed murder, not manslaughter.  Join up now before Facebook (or the Solicitor General) closes it down as “hate speech.”

UPDATE 3: ‘Blunt’ takes on the “brainy guy defence”:

the-brainy-guy-defence

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35 Comments:

Blogger Dave Mann said...

Geez Peter... that was a fantastic post! I won't try to add to it because it can't be improved upon. Great writing.

7/10/2009 10:26:00 am  
Blogger Philip said...

Agree entirely. For those are interested in reading more about the issue, the Law Commission released a pretty comprehensive report in 2007, http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/ProjectReport.aspx?ProjectID=138

7/10/2009 10:34:00 am  
Blogger Lucy said...

Me too!

7/10/2009 11:30:00 am  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

Perhaps we can leave that up to the Jury to decide?

I think Peter's post is excellent, but the Crown have not come close to proving murder thus far (ie that he intended to kill her)..so, yes, perhaps we should wait until the verdict before using adjectives about Weatherston.

7/10/2009 11:56:00 am  
Anonymous SusanD said...

Look who's giving advice? Yep, it is Elijah, the guy who made a bet with DenMT for a NZ $ 1,000 before the general election last year, and Elijah lost.

So, far this clown is able to lurk around the blogosphere trying to give advice to readers but not to front up and pay the $1,000 bet he owed DenMT.

Pay-up man? After that, then you can come here and give advice. No one is going to listen to or treat you seriously if you cheated in your bet.

7/10/2009 12:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

Oh Susan, that bet ($500, actually) was paid to the Green party, as agreed, back in December.

Stop trying to cause trouble about something which was sorted over SEVEN MONTHS ago.

7/10/2009 12:26:00 pm  
Anonymous Mich said...

Oh for fucks sake, this young woman was stabbed over 200 times. I truly fail to see how this can be classed as manslaughter. Stabbing someone that much is no fucking accident.

7/10/2009 01:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

Oh yes, Mich, an appalling end to a young life; however, it is for the Jury to decide if it is manslaughter (not facebook.com groups).

7/10/2009 01:09:00 pm  
Blogger Inventory2 said...

Well said PC - couldn't agree more. And the attack on Gregory Edwards' Facebook group as "hate speech" is nothing more than the rantings of those who are so blinded by pc ideology that they no lonmger recognise the truth.

7/10/2009 01:33:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

Great post!

7/10/2009 01:43:00 pm  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

Provocation as in the recent cases, is no reason for killing someone not being called murder.

But what about the case of excessive self defence ie, someone punches you, and you retaliated by killing them, even though you knew that they would not kill you, and you didn't need to actually kill them to defened yourself, but they initiated the force.

And also what about the case of extreme provocation. Say someone tortured all your family members, and killed them in front of you just as you arrived. If the guy then dropped his weapon and surrendered, and you knew that the police had the house surrounded, and in-fact were just comming in the door i.e. there was no risk of the offender getting away or risk to you. If you shot the guy, would that be murder or manslaughter? To me that is manslaughter because of provocation. But only extreme provocation such as this should count. Provocation like "she was mean to me" shouldn't count.

7/10/2009 02:37:00 pm  
Blogger Craig Ranapia said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/10/2009 03:15:00 pm  
Blogger Craig Ranapia said...

I'm sure someone has already said this, (and I'll say it in my Public Address Radio piece this week), but here's what really gets on my tits about "provocation":

If you don't accept it as an excuse for thuggery from children -- and where I come from the statute of limitations of starting a brawl because "he asked for it" runs out the first day at kindy -- ...

...why should we accept it from adults who are accused of murder?

Elijah, with all due and sincere respect it is not disputed that Weatherston stabbed Sophie Elliot. Her body was found to have 216 "stabs and cuts" when examined by the coroner. Perhaps the bitch not only asked for it but (to quote Chicago's 'Cell Block Tango') she ran into his knife a couple of hundred times?

Weatherston may be legally entitled to run a 'provocation' defence, in an attempt to reduce murder to manslaughter. But I think I'm also entitled to say that it's a load of shit, and a very ugly one in any society with any pretensions to being called civilized.

And, finally, I find it very hard to feel much sympathy for Weatherston's sob story about his "stress" and emotional issues. I'm one of many people living with a mental illness (and a recovering alcoholic) who accepts total and unconditional personal responsibility for his actions, and the (sometimes very unpleasant) consequences that flow from them. It's called being a decent adult human being.

7/10/2009 03:22:00 pm  
Blogger Craig Ranapia said...

Oh, and one more thought.

Even if everything Weatherston says about Sophie Elliot is true -- that she was a slut and a castrating shrew -- she didn't deserve to die because she had the poor judgment to be in a fucked-up relationship with a narcissistic rage-a-holic.

Weatherston has the right to a fair trial, and a rigorous defence. But let's not forget that Sophie Elliot had an even more fundamental right: TO LIVE.

7/10/2009 03:25:00 pm  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

Speaking of fundamental rights, someone is having fun with the referendum generator!

http://should-a.com/3kib8e

I think they misunderstand libertarianism! ;)

7/10/2009 03:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Mich said...

Look, even if she was every shitty thing that this prick is saying, well he stayed in the relationship with her. That in itself speaks volumes. He was free to end the relationship. And that is where it should have ended.

7/10/2009 04:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for 'excessive force' in self defense:

A punch can kill a person. A severe beating AFTER being hit by a single punch can VERY EASILY kill a person.

Therefore there is no such thing as 'excessive force' in self defense to being attacked by an unarmed person, until the attacker is unconscious or otherwise incapacitated.

7/10/2009 06:00:00 pm  
Blogger Paul said...

Well said, Peter. I don't have a problem with the trial, because he is making a noose of his testimony, for his own neck. But I do object to the very suggestion that provocation equals justification.

7/10/2009 06:05:00 pm  
Blogger AngloAmerikan said...

If Weatherston had a shred of decency he would have killed himself by now.

I vote Elijah Lineberry as the worst advocate for Libertarianism ever - totally off putting.

7/11/2009 08:14:00 am  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

I am the greatest advocate of libertarianism; I was suggesting that Weatherston has rights and is entitled to a proper trial where a Jury will decide murder or manslaughter.

Curiously, my view of 'freedom' and rights does not include someone being ripped to pieces by an angry mob of self righteous, precious people.

Apologies, Anglo Amerikan if this fairly simple logic is too intelligent for you.

No doubt you believe that two wolves and a lamb should take a vote on whether to eat a lamb...I say the lamb should be protected from such a vote taking place.

7/11/2009 10:45:00 am  
Anonymous SusanD said...

I agree with Anglo, that Elijah & LGM are the 2 most off-putting Libz on this blog and Elijah is a bigot.

7/11/2009 11:14:00 am  
Blogger Chuck Bird said...

I read over at Kiwiblog that the police found a drug like what is commonly called a date rape drug at the victim's house. Ambach also claims he was drugged. This has not been reported widely or not at all in the MSM.

Does anyone know if their is any truth in this claim? I mean if the allegation was put to the jury not if he was actually true that he was druged.

7/11/2009 02:39:00 pm  
Blogger Ruth said...

Lineberry said "Oh yes, Mich, an appalling end to a young life; however, it is for the Jury to decide if it is manslaughter (not facebook.com groups)."

That *is* libertarianism I am afraid. Even though Weatherston is revolting.

It is *not* up to Facebook and random bloggers to be judge and jury.

Lineberry holds the correct libertarian position.

7/11/2009 04:19:00 pm  
Blogger Chuck Bird said...

Constitutional law expert Associate Professor Bill Hodge supports the provocation defence

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10583858

A civilised society cannot condom vigilante justice. However there are cases where many people would not like to see someone jailed for life with a minimum of ten year non parole period. Take case of a parent who come home early and finds the baby sitter sexually abusing his or her child and looses control and kills the low life.

The person must be punished but many people would say the should not get the same sentence a pre meditated killer like Gaye Oakes who got 10 years non parole.

7/11/2009 08:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Mich said...

Ruth, I didn't say that this man is not entilted to a fair trial. He is, even if he is revolting. Yes, Lineberry is correct in that it is up to a jury to decide the verdict, not a facebook group or an angry mob on the street. I, myself, fail to see how it can be classed as manslaughter, but that is my 2c worth, is all. I see that the media are having a field day over this, though I have other things to concern myself with, so I am not following it to any great degree.

7/12/2009 12:30:00 am  
Blogger Craig Ranapia said...

Elijah:

And who is saying Weatherston is not entitled to a fair trial? What I'm hearing is that the defence he's running is a load of shit.

Or is the "correct libertarian poisition" now that the powers that be should never be questioned, let alone criticised?

7/12/2009 01:32:00 am  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

Chuck Bird, your example is an example of the type of extreme provocation that should count, and get a verdict of manslaughter. "she was mean to me" should not count as suffient provocation.

7/12/2009 09:24:00 am  
Blogger AngloAmerikan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/12/2009 12:26:00 pm  
Blogger AngloAmerikan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/12/2009 01:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weatherston deserves the same treatment, he showed Sophie. PERIOD. As a member of "Clayton Weatherston is a Murderer. He committed murder, not manslaughter". Am tired and disgusted at how a FACULTY member of a UNIVERSITY, THINKS AND FEELS his actions was not Murder. He certainly didnt PREMEDITATE his actions to go to SOPHIES house ARMED with a knife to go and CUT her Sandwiches. I Wonder if anyone here would invite CLAYTON for dinner, telling him to bring " his own KNIFE"!.

7/12/2009 02:42:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Just to clarify. The issue being canvassed here is not whether or not these two entities were guilty or innocent of manslaughter by reason of provocation.

That is, as some have said, an issue for the jury to decide -- and in one of these cases they've already given their opinion.

But that's not the question being raised in my post. I'm arguing that this, the issue of provocation, is not a matter that should, in future, even get to a jury -- I'm suggesting, along with the Law Commission, that the defence of provocation should be removed from the books altogether.

That's the question at issue here.

7/12/2009 02:59:00 pm  
Blogger Ruth said...

I'm arguing that this, the issue of provocation, is not a matter that should, in future, even get to a jury -- I'm suggesting, along with the Law Commission, that the defence of provocation should be removed from the books altogether.

Of course it should be removed - in the interests of zero tolerance for violence in our society as much as for anything else.

And I suggest you won't get much support from the Libertarian Right for removing it.

7/12/2009 04:18:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other than allowing the 'story' to be told a trial serves no purpose. Weatherston admits he killed Sophie. So I am confused when people say he deserves a fair trial. Why? What will be achieved by allowing his barrister to manipulate a jury, in the hope that he will be found guilty only of manslaughter. How is this fair on the victim and her family?

7/12/2009 05:32:00 pm  
Blogger Faversham said...

I think PC has enunciated the issue very well. But, regardless of the specific defence Weatherston embarks on, he is entitled to an unfettered trial. To subordinate that entitlement would be despotic.

I agree with Elijah, the Crown are nowhere near having proved a murderous intent.

There will be no further comment from me until the jury rightfully delivers its free and unfettered verdict. I counsel others to follow my lead.

7/12/2009 06:01:00 pm  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

as I have given examples of, there are cases of extreme provocation where I think that, it should give a verdict or manslaugher, not murder. Perhaps the law should be changed so that the provocer has to have commited a serious crime, that significantly harmed the killer their his close relatives. It shouldnt include provocations such as "he was mean to me" or "he was hitting on me"

7/12/2009 06:47:00 pm  

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