Duc, sequere, aut de via decede!

Killer tough love

August 27th, 2006 . by Matt

Family members and friends

The son of a couple in New Zealand was charged for ‘stealing’ his mothers car. The couple encouraged the judge to have their son sent to jail to teach him a lesson about “breaking the law as an adult” (the son was 17, a legal minor). From www.stuff.co.nz

A violent gang member with a string of convictions is suspected of killing teenager Liam Ashley, who was strangled to death in a prison van cage.

The parents of 17-year-old Liam thought some time behind bars might teach their youngest son to take responsibility for his actions. But he never made it to the prison cells.

Liam was fatally assaulted on Thursday afternoon in the Chubb security van that was transporting him between North Shore District Court and Auckland Central Remand Prison.

Liam was facing a charge of unlawfully taking his mother’s car – his parents encouraged the court to remand him in custody.

Liam was transported in a van with 13 other prisoners. The van was divided into four separate compartments and the teenager was in a compartment with two other men.

The Sunday Star-Times understands one of the men is a known violent gang member with about 80 convictions.

The 25-year-old is understood to be a King Cobra member with convictions including firearms offences, escaping police custody and aggravated robbery.

A Corrections Department source told the Star-Times that at the man’s last court appearance, for aggravated robbery and wounding with intent, he had to be accompanied by four armed guards because of a history of violence and unpredictability.

When the van arrived at Auckland remand prison, Liam was unconscious and not breathing.

The Star-Times understands the markings on Liam’s neck suggest he was strangled with handcuffs.

Ambulance officers resuscitated him but the brain damage was so severe he was placed on life support in Auckland Hospital.

His family made the heartbreaking decision to turn the life support system off on Friday morning.

‘Tough love’ is something a family does in extreme circumstances, and it never should involve leaving a family member to the state. Any interaction with the prison system is bound to make the situation worse.

Liam’s uncle, Brett Ashley, said the family was devastated.

“Liam was offered bail but at his court hearing his family decided the best course of action was to entrust Liam to the New Zealand justice system and let him experience first- hand the serious effects of breaking the law as an adult.

“Liam was going through the process, being put through the system to get back on track and during that process he has ended up dead.”

The system does not ‘cure’ anyone. You cannot just process a human being through ‘the system’, and expect a good result.

Liam’s parents, Ian and Lorraine Ashley, met police yesterday. The family issued a statement saying they wanted the Corrections Department to explain why Liam was allowed to die in the care of the justice system.

The system does not ‘care’. The fundament of the system is a monopoly on violence, and the prison system is the epitome of that. What on earth did they expect? Boys town?

The New Zealand Herald made it clear that it was the parents, not the police, that decided to press charges, and then to not bail him out.

Yesterday, Liam’s parents Ian and Lorraine Ashley, confirmed it was their decision to press criminal charges against their son after he took their vehicle without permission.

Liam had been offered bail on the theft charge, but his parents decided he should spend some time behind bars and experience “the serious effects of breaking the law”.

In any encounter with the authorities, like the police or correctional system, your first priority is to survive the encounter. In a way, it might be that this boy was lucky. Actually entering the prison system, he may have been the victim of homosexual rape regularly, which so many young men suffer in the prison system. All this for the non-crime of ‘stealing’ his mothers car (which I am assuming he brought back). Yes, he was being a naughty boy, possibly delinquent in doing that, but you do not deliberately put your flesh and blood through a violent system in the hope that at the end they will ‘reform’. The parents will no doubt be looking to blame the state for this, but I think they have even more responsibility than the state. The state is what it is – it cannot be otherwise, but the parents job is to protect their son.

A tragedy, really.

16 Responses to “Killer tough love”

  1. comment number 1 by: jodi

    This is a sad case but I find it odd for a few reasons.

    1) It says the kid died in a Chubb security vehicle. Isn’t that a private security company? Does anyone know what it’s relation to the State law enforcement is?


    2) Now if Chubb is indeed connected to State law enforcement, what a waste of tax money spent on imprisoning a kid who “stole his parents’ car” when there are criminals like the man who killed him who deserve that cell in jail even more.

    What a sad, but odd case…

  2. comment number 2 by: GarlicBreath

    People from New Zeland are very very dumb.

  3. comment number 3 by: Sonagi

    but you do not deliberately put your flesh and blood through a violent system in the hope that at the end they will ‘reform’

    No kidding! I hope this story is picked up by the US media. I can easily see something similar happening here. Don’t be too hard on the parents, even if they do sue the state or something. Their hearts will ache for the rest of their lives over a decision that put in their son into the hands of a murderer.

  4. comment number 4 by: Sonagi


    Methinks you’re trying a little too hard to troll. 😉

  5. comment number 5 by: GarlicBreath


    You never answered my question about your internet friend Kushibo so I dont respect you.

    I think you are a troll too ( I mean short, fat and angry). No offence, lots of Canadians women English teachers are like that. I think if you post sexy pictures of yourself on the right website you will land a Korean man.

    But lets stay on topic and not discuss other things.

  6. comment number 6 by: tomato

    It’s intersting that here in Japan, stealing from one’s mother will make one expemt from criminal prosecution

  7. comment number 7 by: tomato

    Oops! Look at Sec. 244 Par.1 of the Japanese Criminal Code…if you can read it.

  8. comment number 8 by: Matt

    OK, GarlicBreath, calm down. Sonagi will answer your question if she wants to, otherwise leave it be.

  9. comment number 9 by: Schiz

    I am from Auckland where this happened. Its big news here. GarlicBreath is not entirely correct in calling NZers dumb. Admittedly, some are, but no more so than Australians and Koreans. My view is that GarkicBreath is a troll. The Ashleys must be one of the few remaining nice middle class families who still believe in the criminal justice system — well, not anymore obviously.

    The lessen here is not to privatise a chunk of the criminal justice system to a private security firm. The idea was that privatising it would free up the police and prison screws for frontline duties while private security guards did the dog work of transporting prisoners. The result is that it not only costs more, but you get scandals galore. There was a case not long ago where a women prisoner on suicide watch in a police cell was raped by the male security guard charged with looking after her. Hell of a scandal. The security gurard had criminal convictions coming out of his ear. The police had let the security company vet their own employees. They have an incentive to cut corners, not do adequate training and not follow prodedure because it eats into their profits.

    Chubb security is in charge of security at the mental hospital where I am a patient. Complete morons the lot of them. The only qualifications they have is size and straight Ds on every school report they’ve ever had. My policy whenever they are called to deal with me is to politely inform the charge nurse or duty manager in the ward that I’ll fight, file assault charges against them and play for time because the security company bills the hospital by the hour. They let me do pretty much anything I want, including surf the net looking at naked Asian tottie to all hours of night.

    Nice chatting with ya.

  10. comment number 10 by: Sonagi

    Chubb security is in charge of security at the mental hospital where I am a patient.

    I laughed so hard I startled the neighbors!!!

  11. comment number 11 by: Schiz

    I laughed so hard I startled the neighbors!!!

    I don’t find it particularly funny myself. Mental hospitals are not Club Med, you know. Being Sectioned under the Act means you are detained, sometimes effectively indefinitely, even though you DID NOT do anything wrong.

    Back to the poor Ashley family. People who have no personal experience of the way systems really operate — be it the criminal justice or mental health systems — are prone to naive mistakes like sending their wee boy down for the night to teach him a lesson. May their experience serve as a lesson to others. I see it all the time in mental health. The naive family makes the application for beloved, but disturbed, family member to be sectioned for treatment and then they can’t understand why their beloved comes out traumatised and even more disturbed.

  12. comment number 12 by: Errol

    Here’s another case of privatisation of the detention system. Did you see this doco on SBS last night Matt? They locked this Thai girl (Phuongtong Simpalee) in detention for 65 hours without proper medical treatment. She died in detention.

    As Chris Payne said in the documentary, “Just because these are Asian girls doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be getting the same medical treatment as other Australians.”

    The giggling, “nudge, nudge, wink, wink, Asian girls are from another planet” attitude has gone on for too long in Australia.

  13. comment number 13 by: Errol

    Trafficked to Sydney

  14. comment number 14 by: Matt

    Hi Errol. I dont watch TV, and have not for about 8 years. Whatever shows I want to watch, I just download. Not watching the TV really does open your mind.

    Too bad about that girl. She deserved better.

  15. comment number 15 by: Errol

    Try to download it Matt and see the story behind the stories of these two women, their family circumstances and how the network operates.

    The second woman was trafficked into Malaysia to work as a maid. The Malaysian boss beat and raped her, a delegation came from the USA to work out where to traffic her and an Australian brothel locked her up until she had paid off her debt.

    When a routine immigration raid picked her up for deportation in Australia the notoriously incompetent Immigration Department functionaries (remember Cornelia Rau and Vivian Alvarez Solon) failed to notify the Australian Federal Police until sufficient evidence to prosecute a charge of trafficking had been destroyed.

    Three of the Thai traffickers are currently serving 10 year plus sentences. The Malaysians, the Americans and the Australians continue with their trafficking.

  16. comment number 16 by: Osiris

    The real issue is being overlooked here. Will he steal another car? No. So in the end, it worked!

    Parents, deal with your children yourselves. If by 17 you have been such a failure as a parent that you feel the need to involve the legal system, don’t play the victim when your spawn either kills or is killed (or both).