On January 26 Pihema Cameron, a 15 year old schoolboy, was stabbed to death after ‘tagging’ an Auckland suburban fence.
Bruce Emery, described as a ’50 year old businessman’, was subsequently arrested and charged with Cameron’s murder.
On January 29 Christchurch councillor Barry Corbett told a council meeting that ‘If I was on the jury, I’d let him get away with it, but that’s just me.’
Since then Corbett, a man with right wing political views, has resisted calls for his resignation. In fact, he has yet to make a full apology.
Corbett, clearly demonstrating a reluctance to retract his outrageous comments, has only gone as far as saying that his remarks had ‘probably overstepped the mark’. Probably? So it’s a matter of debate then?
But Corbett managed to take a swipe at the boy even when he was claiming he was not some kind of right wing vigilante nutter. This is what he said:
‘I want to emphasise that I am not into vigilante and lynch mob acts. But at the end of the day if the kid was not tagging he would still be alive today.’
Mr Corbett - ‘The kid’ would still be alive today if he hadn’t been stabbed with a knife. The act of tagging did not kill him.
What is also of concern is that none of Corbett’s fellow councillors have condemned him for his comments. Their silence has deafening – and they stand condemned by that silence.
And what of Mayor ‘Sideshow’ Bob Parker? He has claimed that Corbett ‘deeply regrets’ making the comments – despite the fact that he has yet to publicly apologise for them.
Sideshow then went on to defend Corbett, claiming he was an ‘extremely valuable councillor.’
Meanwhile the mother of Pihema Cameron has also called for Corbett’s resignation.
She said: ‘You are in a high-up place, in the public view. You shouldn’t be saying that.’
Corbett, a former radio DJ, has gone to ground – hoping that he’ll be able to ride out the storm. He should resign but he won’t.