Borrell's father backs Christie's Law
The father of murdered schoolboy Augustine Borrell is calling for urgent law changes to avoid another family needlessly being ripped apart by grief.
Charlie Borrell joined hundreds of people at the High Court at Auckland yesterday in a protest march in support of tougher bail laws.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust-led campaign wants judges to be subjected to annual performance reviews and the right of serious offenders to apply for bail removed.
It was sparked by the fatal stabbing of Auckland teenager Christie Marceau.
The man accused of Marceau's murder was on bail at the time of the alleged murder.
As part of the protest, a number of relatives of murder victims spoke to the emotionally-charged crowd.
Borrell's 17-year-old son was stabbed to death at a party in the Auckland suburb of Herne Bay in September 2007.
Murderer Haiden Davis was on bail for another violent crime when he killed Augustine.
''No-one is immune. This stuff could happen to you next. If we don't make changes now... There will be further lives lost,'' Borrell warned.
Robyn Hanson spoke of her relative Vanessa Pickering, who was murdered by Malcolm Chaston while he was on bail.
She described Chaston as a ''ticking time bomb'' who should never have been granted bail.
''Urgent changes need to happen so no other families have to suffer such an unnecessary tragedy.''
Pickering's body was found on a hill near Godley Head in Christchurch in February 2010. Chaston, a 41-year-old with a violent criminal history, was jailed indefinitely for her murder.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust said several murders had been committed by offenders on bail and wanted ''to send a very clear message to judges''.
Ministry of Justice statistics released at yesterday's rally revealed 5082 people breached bail conditions in 2007.
Of those, about a quarter offended while released on bail.
The trust has called for amendments to the Bail Act, including the removal of the option of bail for defendants with a history of violent offending which had involved a sentence of more than two years.
The trust also wanted an automatic inquiry after serious breaches of bail similar to that carried out after police shootings.
Holding placards and dressed in turquoise, Marceau's favourite colour, yesterday's protest group marched to Britomart in Auckland's CBD to garner signatures for a law reform petition.
Tracey and Brian Marceau were supposed to be celebrating daughter Heather's wedding this week, but instead were spear-heading the law reform campaign ''Christie's Law'', named in honour of their dead daughter.
At times Tracey Marceau struggled to contain the tears and could be seen clutching a locket containing some of her daughter's ashes.
She said the necklace was a final reminder of her daughter, who died in her arms after being stabbed in their Auckland home last November.
''This is what I have left of my child,'' she said. ''I carry this piece of my child here because that is all I have been left with. I have her with me all the time.''
Marceau said she didn't want anyone to go through what she suffered every day.
''Christie was supposed to be the maid of honour at her sister's wedding this Friday. How do you think that makes us feel?''
Christie's sister, Heather, cried as her parents spoke of how their lives had been tipped upside down since Christie's death.
''In some ways I'm crying for Christie but in other ways I'm crying because there is so much support. It's unbelievably touching how people have come together like this.''
Family and friends also used the day to remember Christie Marceau.
Former classmate Kirsty Chettle said Marceau was an amazing friend who always put others first.
Another friend, Katherine Devonshire, said Marceau would normally be the type to organise the protest.
''We owe it to her to be here. It's the least we can do.''