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Sentence either righteous or ‘ridiculous’

On Monday, the Deputy Prime Minister posted the following observation on social media site X: “The Cabinet Manual means a minister cannot comment on the court sentencing of a man for a blatant assault – no matter how ridiculous and out of touch the sentencing is.”

Although Winston Peters’ post may have [debatably] obeyed the letter of the Cabinet Manual, it certainly broke its spirit, given that anyone closely following the news will know the “ridiculous and out of touch” sentence referred to was the discharge without conviction – along with permanent name suppression – of a 21-year-old man for punching 71-year-old Judith Hobson in the head several times during an event at Auckland’s Albert Park a year ago.

As well as a concussion, Hobson suffered severe bruising as a result of the attack, which Judge Kevin Glubb reportedly described as “moderately serious”.

In her victim impact statement, the pensioner said that since the assault she can’t sleep without taking a sleeping pill, suffers from frequent headaches, is forgetful and severely stressed by sudden noises, and has trouble finishing sentences, reading books, and listening to music.

Judge Glubb, however, was apparently more swayed by the arguments of the man’s lawyer, who cited his ADHD and autism, noted he had completed 180 hours of volunteer work at the Red Cross as well as the Man Alive anti-violence programme and counselling sessions, had offered $1000 of reparations, and claimed her client had been caught up in a unique, unrepeatable set of circumstances.

Accepting that the offender was genuinely remorseful and had acted completely out of character, the judge said that – given his neurodiversity – a conviction would be out of proportion to the gravity of the offending and discharged him, granting his permanent name suppression for good measure.

Judge Glubb also noted the sentence did not detract from the impact of the offending on the victim, although Hobson herself begged to differ, describing it as “an absolute joke”.

“I am absolutely livid that he has walked out of the court with, in my opinion, virtually no consequences whatsoever,” she said.

Now, prima facie, one might think an elderly woman would be justified in being incensed about being repeatedly punched in the face by a young man 50 years her junior, only to see her attacker escape even being named and shamed [one of the purposes of ‘open justice’].

Perhaps, however, some more context is required. The assault, you see, took place during what the defence lawyer described as the “frenzied Posie Parker protests”. As you’ll no doubt remember, this involved around 2000 ‘counter-protestors’ descending on a 200-‘strong’, mainly female crowd that had gathered for a Let Woman Speak event organised by self-described women’s rights activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshul [aka ‘Posie Parker’], after it was claimed the event – women talking about their concerns about how ‘trans rights’ impinge on their sex-based rights – would inspire violence against members of the trans community.

Given Keen-Minshul had been [mis]characterised as “a Nazi” prior to the event by both media outlets and ‘trans allies’ [on the way to the counter-protest, for example, then-Green MP Golriz Ghahraman posted on social media that she was “so ready to fight Nazis”], it’s understandable the young man simply got carried away in his righteous cause.

In any case, we can hardly call ourselves a ‘progressive society’ if we can’t protect a minority group from hearing an unwelcome opinion by giving a lippy old woman a fat lip, right?



  1. Come on punching 👊 😤 a 71 year old woman 👵 no matter what the issue is it’s an ASSAULT. Sorry yeah OK 👍 use it on every ASSAULT then? What a load of CRAP. Socialism this is how it works braking down the LAWS of a country.

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