Dita De Boni 's Opinion

Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Dita De Boni: Hopeless case of the Turangi attacker

Is there any hope for young offenders who get locked up? Photo / Thinkstock
Is there any hope for young offenders who get locked up? Photo / Thinkstock

What more can be said about the Turangi attacker Raurangi Marino who, at 16-years-old, is now a convicted thief and rapist, if not an outed paedophile?

Every night when I lie down to sleep I have to banish terrible thoughts from my head - thoughts about what horrible things could happen to my children. I'm sure most parents have the same experience, if not every night, then perhaps from time to time. For the parents of the little girl from Europe, attacked, raped and bloodied by Marino, they have actually lived the horrifying experience of seeing something brutal done to their child. Nothing will ever be able to erase that from their memories.

But I feel the judge was right to give Marino ten years - even though this supposedly light sentence has lit up talkback all afternoon with talk of vigilante justice. He is just a kid himself. A kid who was failed by his parents, who has never had the chance to develop properly or be educated, who never stood a chance at having a normal life.

Ten years will only be worthwhile if there is a huge investment in ensuring the huge damage of Marino's upbringing is mitigated. How can that be achieved? Intensive psychotherapy, monitoring, anger management... and so on. If he is a paedophile, more attempts at rehabilitation. If we are not going to invest in turning his life around, we may as well throw away the key.

The more likely scenario here is that, like Bailey Kurariki, this young man will be in and out of the justice system when he is released from prison. Everyone knows his name. He has no education, no qualifications. He will become hardened in jail, and if he serves his full sentence will be out at 26-years-old. Quite possibly in time to father several children himself. One way or the other the state may well be supporting him for the rest of his life.

Could it ever be possible to hold parents accountable for producing the likes of Raurangi Marino? Not for the attack itself, perhaps, but for the unsupervised party where he had 30 or so beers beforehand? For the dropping out of school? For being beaten? Abused? In any case, is there any point? It can't take back that horrible attack on the five-year-old girl - and it certainly won't change the reality of the awful upbringing of Raurangi Marino.


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Dita De Boni

Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Dita De Boni is a columnist, commentator and TV producer/journalist. She first wrote columns for the NZ Herald in 1995, moving to daily business news in 1999 for four years, and then to TVNZ in Business, News and Current Affairs. After tiring of the parenting/blogging beat for the Herald Online she moved back to her first love, business (with a politics chaser), writing a column for Friday Business since 2012.

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