Fraudsters can be very convincing, and very charming.
Allan Titford was not at all charming, but he did convince a lot of people he was genuine in saying he’d been wronged by the Government and the Waitangi Tribunal. Turns out however, on the judgement of the courts, that much of what he said was made up—that he himself was responsible for the arsons he clamed had been committed by local Maori, Te Roroa—that their campaign to drive him off his land by violence and intimidation, in which he claimed the government and police colluded, was fiction and not fact. Or, in the judgement of the court, fraud.
Turns out that instead of being wronged himself he had instead wronged not only those he accused but also all those who did believe in him and his stories--especially his wife, against whom he was found guilty last week of two decades of violence and sexual offences.
There are many who look askance at the 24-year sentence handed down to Titford, wondering if its relative length—compared to many lesser sentences for similar or greater crimes—might make him some sort of political criminal “fitted up by the state.”
On the other hand, those who generally argue for longer sentences, many of whom still appear to be Titford’s supporters, can hardly complain about a lengthy sentence handed down for conviction on 39 charges, including 14 of assault with a weapon, seven of assault, four of male assaults female, three of assault on a child, three of sexual violation, two of arson, and one charge each of using a document with intention to defraud, threatening to kill, assault using a weapon, perjury, attempting to pervert the course of justice and discharging a firearm.