Quickhit #2: that chocolate frog

Legal Eagle has a great post:

Charged with receiving chocolate frog

The objects of criminal law are deterrence, retribution, rehabilitation and keeping dangerous criminals out of society. On every level this charge is a BIG FAIL. In terms of retribution and deterrence, it’s seriously disproportionate, like using a bulldozer to catch a butterfly. The kid didn’t even commit the primary offence. In terms of rehabilitation, it is also terrible. Charging the kid is a great way to destroy the kid’s life forever. And then the aim of keeping dangerous criminals out of society – really, the police would be better off concentrating on people who impose harm on society rather than persecuting this poor kid.

If I were the Children’s Court judge hearing this, I’d make my thoughts on the matter very plain to the police prosecutor.

The worst thing is the racial subtext to this whole thing. Indigenous children are vastly overrepresented in gaols.

What the hell happened to the good old-fashioned stern talking-to from the local police? This kid is only 12, FFS.

Categories: indigenous, law & order

Tags: ,

6 replies

  1. And the scum has risen to the surface in letters to online newspapers everywhere.
    It’s amazing how many people are quick to jump to the “well, he WAS known to police” and completely bypass the “no prior convictions”. To them he’s a career criminal and if the police don’t lock him up now he’ll be breaking into your house and stealing your DVD this time next week. Because, apparently, that’s what indigenous kids do when they aren’t kicking a footy around or sniffing petrol.
    The fact that he’s only 12 doesn’t seem to factor into it at all, either.
    I weep for the humanity of it all.

  2. I recently read that the police force has refuted claims that it is racist.
    Well, I suppose it is no more racist than the majority of Australia’s population. Racism, it seems, may always be with us, it is just that it will become more subtle, more insidious and possibly (as it seems in this case) supported by the state.

  3. I would not deny that a too significant element of Oz society is racist [and misogynist and xenophobic and classist and …] but I fluctuate between despair at the extent of such, as evidenced by this example, and comparative optimism when I look at the latest Newspoll.
    There the shift, apparently, of public opinion re the xenophobic beat up over boat people which has saturated our media for far too long, has been minimal.
    I’m heartened by the relatively small reaction, if any at all, to such media hysteria.
    This disgraceful example of the Freddo frog, hopefully, will be given the dismissal it deserves.
    I dunno, I’m not sure, but I reckon this country is better now than it used to be, I reckon, I hope, we are moving slowly in the right direction.
    The voices of common decency which reject this shameful case are, again I hope, getting stronger and the nasties more shrill but less penetrating.

  4. The Police Commissioner has now folded under pressure, done a 180, and referred the case to the Juvenile Justice Team instead of taking it to court. There’s no sign of any apology for throwing this boy in a cell.

  5. While the lack of apology is outrageous, it’s good that the commissioner caved.

  6. It is absolutely horrible, horrible. He shouldn’t even be facing the juvi justice team FFS. By this standard I would have been convicted and locked up when I nicked a chocky frog from our corner store aged about 11. How many other derisory charges like this proceed through the courts without attracting attention?

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