Last Tuesday Mark Middleton was snatched from his work place and arrested by New Zealand Immigration officers.
Mark arrived in New Zealand as a four year old in 1962, some 56 years ago, and now the New Zealand Immigration have stated that he is an over stayer.
In 1989 Mark Middleton's stepdaughter Karla Cardno was snatched from her push bike, held captive and tortured over 22 hours, then buried alive by Paul Joseph Dally.
Middleton had made threats about what he would do to Dally if Karla's killer was ever granted parole, including graphic statements to the Wanganui Chronicle. All Mark really wanted was to make sure Dally was not released so he couldn't go on to hurt another family.
I remember the pain in my heart and the sickness I felt in my stomach that day as I heard all the facts of what happened to Karla when they were laid out in the court. I remember looking at Mark, and I could not believe he had to listen to these details and relive the anguish and pain of Karla's murder and be treated as if he was the criminal.
It was that beast of a man Paul Dally who committed the heinous crime — Mark was the victim. I was gobsmacked that this was the way our justice system treated victims of such a brutal crime.
Mark was found guilty, and that was the day the Sensible Sentencing Trust was born.
I want to make it clear that the SST do not advocate vigilantism. We understand when something as horrific as Karla's murder happens, the feelings of horror, pain and anguish are extremely intense, and the family of the victim do not want another family to go through what they have, so they will possibly say something similar to what Mark did. That does not, however, mean they will actually look to do it.
SST has done everything in their power to help Mark from that day, organising a nationwide rally in support of him, and to raise some serious questions round the flaws in New Zealand's justice system. The SST will do the same this time.
We have to wonder if the reason for the sudden action taken by New Zealand Immigration is because Paul Dally will be up for another parole hearing in November 2019, and maybe they think he is getting close to being released on parole. We believe the Parole Board may have notified officials of this, and now they want to deport Mark for Dally's safety.
What other explanation can they suddenly have? They have made it out to seem as if Mark has been in hiding, but we all know that could not be further from the truth; he has been all over the media. He has been through our court system? How can they honestly say they did not have red flags then? It makes absolutely no sense at all.
The SST would like New Zealand Immigration and the Minister of Immigration, Iain Lees-Galloway, to please explain to the public why hardened criminals such as the two following offenders can stay in New Zealand, while they are looking to deport Mark.
Tim Horne, a South African immigrant, convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 6-year-old in 2014. The girl's mother heard her screams and came to her rescue. Horne ran away. He was given a deportation notice in March last year, and appealed to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal. The tribunal concluded that deporting him would cause a permanent and irretrievable breakdown of his family unit.
It found that deporting him would not be in the public interest, and has given him a five-year suspension of his deportation order. Provided Horne does not reoffend in the next five years, he can stay in New Zealand.
A man who raped a sleeping woman at a party, and who has a conviction for passport fraud, has won his appeal against deportation to India.
Indian immigrant Tajinder Paul Singh was jailed for raping a woman at a Christchurch party in 2014. Other convictions include drink-driving, passport fraud, dangerous driving and failing to stop after an accident. Singh was 29 when he was jailed for six years for the rape at a neighbour's party in Christchurch.
The Immigration and Protection Tribunal suspended his deportation liability for five years, meaning he will not be deported if he does not commit an imprisonable offence in that time.
These offenders are allowed to stay in our country when they are immigrants, while an innocent, hard-working family man who has been in New Zealand since he was 4 years old, and has been through a huge amount of pain, loss and criminal charges, has to leave the country.
How does any of that make sense? What is Immigration's reason for allowing these criminals to stay as immigrants and not Mark Middleton?
Mark is the sole caregiver for his family. They have to go through the gruelling parole hearing process every year, and without Mark's support, what is Karla's mother supposed to do? If Paul Dally is released on parole next year, Karla's mother will have to deal with that alone, and it will simply destroy the family. The thought of the added heartbreak this will cause is horrific and undeniably cruel.
New Zealand Immigration have been asked to provide Mark's immigration status on the day he arrived into the country in 1962, but they have refused to release it.
I believe that shows they are covering something up. Why will they not release the information? If they say he is an over-stayer, then they must have some proof or some reason to suddenly act this way and arrest Mark, yet they refuse to provide proof to the person it directly impacts, and that is Mark Middleton.
There has either been a huge cock up in the Immigration system, and now someone is trying to cover their tracks, or word has been passed on to Immigration that Paul Dally may very possibly be released in 2019 and they want to protect him, and not Karla's family — the victims of Paul Dally.
Sensible Sentencing Trust