Sunday, April 27, 2008

Court of Appeal decision confirms Russell Brown was wrong all along, even after he breached court suppression on his blog

Public Address blogger Russell Brown will no doubt be disappointed that Barbara Bishop's sentence has been cut in half after what he described as her role in the use of "excessive and brutal force" in the beating and hogtying of her violent and abusive 17-year-old son with duct tape. The nine month sentence was cut because it was deemed to be "manifestly excessive". Bishop can apply for parole now because she has been in prison for more than seven weeks and has therefore served well over a third of her sentence. Russell's initial blog post breached court suppression orders, but he subsequently edited it heavily later that day upon my suggestion. He even deleted some of the comments, something I don`t think he`s ever done before or since. He says it was a "damn shame" he had to edit it and in some ways I agree. But that`s suppression laws for you.

Russell says people - and I`m not one - have relayed false accounts of the case. Yet his own conclusions were not up to scratch, either. He says:
I'll leave it up to people who have relayed Barbara Bishop's false accounts of the case which led to her jail sentence to consider what their own ethical response should be, now that the court has made its decision.
How did Russell know whether the relayed accounts were false or not? Answer: he didn't. He noted that Bishop believed that she did nothing wrong. I have not previously blogged on this case for reasons I won't go into now. But I did note that Russell quoted Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro who was quick to judge on what she thought Bishop's role was. But she won`t comment now as the Court of Appeal halved the sentence as Bishop's only active part in the assault was in handing the binding tape to her former husband. Hardly violence.
Her involvement as a party in the incident [she was sentenced on] beyond that act was essentially passive, providing encouragement by failing to dissuade rather than by active encouragement... It is necessary also to bear in mind that the judge accepted that she may well have been scared.
Which is exactly what Bishop told me prior to her initial trial.

What is clear is that Bishop's former husband beat and hogtied the boy for which he is serving 12 months.Kiro was silent on that. Barbara Bishop clearly had a lesser role. Russell Brown would be wise to acknowledge that he has erroneously elevated Bishop's role in the assault, in that he implied she had a substantial role in the "excessive and brutal" beating. If he has any integrity - which he has - he will note his blog appropriately that handing a person a roll of tape while being scared to do otherwise is neither excessive or brutal.


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