It’s time that we stop making excuses for why we can’t make it a crime to stonewall the cops.
And instead just do the right thing and make it a crime for every adult in the house to stonewall the cops if someone has bashed a baby to death.
This is becoming a pattern with child deaths in New Zealand. Just off the top of my head, I can give you four cases where babies have been bashed and the adults didn’t want to tell on each other:
- The Kahui twins
- Nia Glassie
- A case in South Auckland with an unnamed 4 moth old baby who survived months of bashing in 2019/2020
- And now- baby Ru
There were three adults in the house when baby Ru was bashed, and last we heard none of them are properly assisting police.
It is not novel to raise the idea that we should write a law that criminalises those three adults, and any others like them for keeping silent.
But every time we have this debate, out come the naysayers and they warn us we can’t do that.
Because it overturns a fundamental principle in our law where you are not compelled to help the prosecution, where you do not have to speak under threat of being charged. So every time, nothing gets done.
Today, I called a retired law professor to ask what he thought.
And he said that as long as a law was written that was very specific, that only criminalised people in a very specific example of bashing a dependent - like a baby or an elderly person -and as long as pressing charges required a sign off form very senior people - like the Attorney General or the Solicitor-General - it could be acceptable.
And it could work. To give you an example- that case of the 4 month old that I mentioned earlier.
- The Kahui twin's legacy 10 years on
- 'They failed our baby': Slain toddler's family asked OT to uplift him amid concerns he was in 'danger'
- Inquest: 94 kids killed since Nia Glassie
- Slain toddler, Baby Ru, allegedly had piece of fabric wrapped around neck
The parents weren’t talking, so the cops charged both the mum and the dad. And that forced her dad to confess it was him. He went to jail for four years, and the baby survived.
It's time that we start doing this. Sure, it overrides principles but there’s another accepted principle- you don’t bash a baby to death and get away with it.
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