The Judge Who Queried The Obvious: Why Send Drug Users to the Drug Suppliers?

The Judge Who Queried The Obvious: Why Send Drug Users to the Drug Suppliers? 2

It’s a bit like coals-to-Newcastle, or having the Taliban come to teach us how to educate more women.

For District Court Judge Russell Collins, providing a discount to a Mongrel Mob member who was to attend the taxpayer-funded meth-treatment programme run by operated in part by the so-called ‘notorious’ Sonny Smith, a high profile Mob member and one of the facilitators in the programme that was signed off by none other than Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“When someone like Sonny Smith is a critical component to the programme… How do I put aside that ‘institutional knowledge’ and come to the conclusion that Mr Smith, as a president in the Mongrel Mob, is able to rehabilitate those afflicted with methamphetamine addiction?” Collins asked Tipu’s lawyer Matt Dixon.

Judge Russell Collins made the remarks when sentencing Mob member Damian Tipu, 28, in Napier District Court last week.

“Every day we see in this court methamphetamine charges and there is one entity which dominates over anyone else as being behind the methamphetamine trade in Hawke’s Bay, and that’s the Mongrel Mob,” the judge said.

Tipu’s lawyer said Tipu had clearly benefited from the course because he had returned negative drug tests while attending it.

The tests were carried out internally. Just one of Tipu’s test results was shared with his probation officer.

“Self-reporting drug-testing?” the judge said.

He said there was no evidence of the training or qualifications of those running the programme, and it was not a programme approved by Corrections.

The programme’s funding, implementation, protocols and overall lack of transparency has been the focus of attention, particularly given the fact that it is run, as Judge Collins points out, by the very people supplying the drugs in the first place.

National Party member and doctor Shane Reti recently highlighted the issues surrounding the programme recently, saying “The rise in gang membership and drug abuse go hand-in-hand.”

“It’s an indictment of Labour’s ‘nothing-to-see-here’ approach to crime, which is now causing lasting damage to communities across New Zealand.”

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