CEO of registered charity – Womens Refuge – criticises Judge’s decision

Womens Refuge is a charity registered with the Charities Commission and receives considerable government financial assistance. Its Chief Executive, Heather Henare, has attacked a decision issued by a Judge in the Wellington District Court relating to a man charged with a “degrading” assault. She claims the decision “reeked of double standards”. 

A Te Papa manager has escaped conviction for a “degrading” assault on his pregnant former partner after claiming it would hamper his international travel for the museum.

Noel James Osborne, 47, is a collections manager of Maori artefacts. In a video on Te Papa’s website in which he presents the museum’s collection of taiaha, he says he is a carver.

Women’s Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said Osborne’s discharge without conviction reeked of double standards. “Effectively what this says is it is OK if you happen to be in a privileged position.”

Osborne, appearing in Wellington District Court yesterday, had previously pleaded guilty to common domestic assault.

Prosecutor Blair Piper described the attack as quite a degrading act. “It does have emotional ramifications beyond the physical. There’s simply no excuse for taking that action against a woman who was pregnant.”

But Osborne successfully argued that the effects of a conviction outweighed the gravity of the offending.

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  1. Sarah says

    I agree with Heather. Why should status be a factor in determining the sentence when a crime is committed? If that’s the case, professionals would be of an advantage in all criminal cases. The NZ legal system serves the public and should not be biased in their decisions towards professionals or people of higher status.

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