Court rewards repeat sexual offender


Former air force sergeant Robert Roper claimed nearly $56,000 in court costs after being sued by Mariya Taylor. Photo credit: Stuff

We expect justice through the courts but are often disappointed, and this case demonstrates a judge handing out injustice in her courtroom. When the law is an ass, judges should adopt a common-sense approach. Quote.

A former Air Force servicewoman who must pay her attacker nearly $28,000 in legal costs says the decision is like “a stab in the chest”.

end quote.

We have a bill of rights which is supposed to protect the victims of crime, not reward the perpetrators! Quote.

Robert Roper sexually harassed Mariya Taylor for three years when they were based at the Whenuapai base in Auckland in the 1980s.

The attacks, in which she was locked in a cage, eventually drove her from the armed services and from New Zealand.

Taylor went to police after Roper was convicted in 2014 for raping his two daughters, Karina Andrews and Tracey Thompson, and Cherie Ham.? End of quote.

Taylor claimed damages from Roper and the Air Force for distress, depession, anxiety and PTSD resulting from the abuse. Due to a legal technicality under the Limitation Act 1950 and the 2001 Accident Compensation Act she failed to obtain compensation. Roper is currently serving a 13 year sentence for sexual offending against five women in the 1970s and 1980s.

Legislation says that the party that fails in a proceeding “should pay costs” to the party that succeeds. The defendants were Roper and the Defence Force but the prime minister intervened to prevent the Defence Force from claiming legal costs

Given this knowledge, it is a great shame that Justice Rebecca Edwards did not also recognise the injustice when Roper pursued reimbursement of his defence costs of $55,638.50.  Quote.

On Monday, Justice Edwards ruled Taylor must pay Roper $27,819.25.? End of quote

Stuff

Awarding this turd even half of his claim is not justice.  Judge Edwards justified her decision. Quote.

Justice Edwards said while there was no dispute Roper’s conduct was “heinous”, denying him costs to penalise him for his behaviour would not be legally sound.

“Costs should not be used as a backdoor means of granting relief to a plaintiff who failed to get their claim past the front door.” End of quote.

Legally sound? How about morally sound? Justice Edwards needs to grow a pair and take responsibility for her role as arbitrator. Putting fairness and justice aside, instead she exacerbates an unfair judgement and then uses the law to justify herself.  Not only is the abused woman further penalised, but the repeat-offender turd is rewarded.  How is this justice?

Judge Edwards said that putting aside the legal obligation to award costs would set a legal precedent. But surely a judge in future cases would have the ability to recognise the particular special circumstances around this one?  This judge?s decision makes a mockery of our judiciary.

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