ACCESS TO JUSTICE IS BEING DENIED

Mona Townson 2

Mona Townson

Did you know women can only get legal aid if they earn less than $32,000 gross. The initial application  for a protection order is approximately $800 and if the respondent defends the order it can cost several thousand dollars to go through the court process. Justice cannot be achieved by women who are unable to pay these fees.

Did you know that the 13 year old boy who stabbed and killed the dairy owner last year, was a tragedy waiting to happen. When 8 years old, the boy was struck by a car and flung 4 metres into the air. He was knocked out, suffered a seizure, fractured skull and a brain-bleed. Four days later he was discharged from Starship Hospital with a ‘traumatic’ brain injury. A request for rehabilitation was made but apparently ignored.

In trying to cope with major headaches and behavioural issues he became addicted to cannabis. This background helped to create the situation of where he stabbed and killed a person. What would this boy have been like if he had been given help by Government agencies when it was obviously needed.

Did you know that there has been a ten year delayed High Court claim by approximately 40 residents of the Whakapakari Youth Trust  alleging horrific mistreatment between 1988 and 2004. This has led to the accusation that the Government is trying to cover up the serious mistreatment of children. The opportunity for justice given the statute of limitations – has been lost.

Judge Carolyn Henwood, speaking in her capacity as the chairwoman of the recently concluded Confidential Listening Service, said that this situation was concerning and raised the prospect of vulnerable people being denied access to justice.

These three examples show us that “Justice delayed, is Justice denied”. The impact of no Justice on the lives of  families and communities are immense. What can you and I do about this ?

Mona Townson

Hibiscus Coast NCW

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