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JP attacks 'hounding' of Wilson

By Merania Karauria

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Napier Justice of the Peace Pat Magill says the "dark clouds of retribution" are entrenched in New Zealand society.

Mr Magill told the Chronicle the likes of Stewart Murray Wilson will be cat-and-mouse playthings with huge costs on both sides, with the media looking for sensational "no cures".

Mr Magill has visited Wilson at Kaitoke a number of times since his release from prison. Serial sex offender Wilson has been returned to prison until at least May 2 after being denied bail following a court appearance in Wanganui on Friday.

Wilson denied breaching his parole conditions. The matter has been set down for a defended hearing.

He is alleged to have breached his parole on February 18 by "phoning a person he had been directed not to associate with".

Mr Magill said he was prompted to visit Wilson because he was shocked by the media and community reaction to his (Wilson's) release last year.

Mr Magill said these negative reactions continued to offer little hope for Wilson and any others who were incarcerated.

"This New Zealand style of hounding offenders that creates more victims is not good for our young at school who see this as the only model towards a better understanding and caring society."

Mr Magill urges New Zealanders to listen to Kim Hill's recent interview with Victoria University Professor of Criminology John Pratt talking about his January-published book (with Anna Eriksson), Contrasts in Punishment: An Explanation of Anglophone Excess and Nordic Exceptionalism. "Given the Scandinavian attitudes to crime and punishment, you would have a better opportunity to be rehabilitated back into the community than has Murray."

Mr Magill visited Norway last year, where their recidivism rate is 17 per cent, New Zealand's is 60 per cent.

He said Wilson - whether in prison for a small breach or back in his cottage - is still isolated from community dialogue for good. He could become a real learning experience to encourage our politicians to focus on the best from the Scandinavian experience, and give the expensive and failed US, mostly "decant criminal justice", an overdue rest.

"As far as our New Zealand politicians' attitude to reform, since 1970 I, with others, responded to a government call for submissions to reduce crime and violence, but not one recommendation that favoured earlier intervention was even replied to.

"No votes in being soft on crime."

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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