Judge Philippa Cunningham
Auckland District Court
Fax 09 916 9611
Dear Judge Cunningham,
I am writing to express my dismay and disquiet at your ruling last week.
My heart goes out to the partner and mother who did what we would all hope and expect a mother to do.
Our media in recent years has profiled more family cover ups of child abuse than cases like this. Having worked for women’s refuge in the past and supported a mother and child through the process of laying a complaint of child abuse I have seen first hand the fear and trauma involved in taking a case to court.
In this example the comedian concerned admitted his guilt and while this will certainly have made the process prior to your ruling easier for the family your ruling must have been absolutely devastating.
I am not a proponent of punishment for the sake of punishment but I do believe an essential part of justice is the acknowledgement of a crime and rehabilitation and or restitution.
You reportedly decided the comedian had no paedophilic tendencies I am supposing this is because he was drunk. This suggests that if you’re drunk and your partner doesn’t want sex and you have a child in your bed then anyone might end up conducting sex acts on that child. I would suggest this is not true. How was it he didn’t perform a sex on (attempt to rape) his partner while she slept if he was so drunk he was not accountable for his own actions? He knew it was his daughter and this is not the behaviour of a man with a healthy sexuality.
I believe this judgement sends a harmful message to victims and their families. So few cases of sexual abuse make it to court in this country and even fewer manage to get convictions. Now there is even less incentive to try.
I also believe it sends a message to men that they are less responsible for their actions if they’re socially privileged and drunk.
We need a justice system that we can all have confidence in. Your decision has undermined my faith in justice in this country.
You can’t change this ruling, but at the very least I do hope you reflect on the reaction to your ruling and organise time to talk to some of the agencies working with victims of sexual abuse.