Bruce Emery, the businessman who a year ago stabed to death then 15 year old Pihema Cameron after catching him and another teenager he caught spray painting (‘tagging’) his garage in Auckland and chasing them 300 meters down the street with a knife, has been jailed. Emery was originally charged with murder but in December was found not guilty of murder and instead guilty of manslaughter.
His sentence is four years and three months, he is likely to be out of jail in as little as two years. Pihema’s mother told NZPA “I have never felt so much hatred for a person than what I feel for this man. He destroyed and broke up my family…Not a day goes by when I don’t cry about my son. This man who killed my son had 300m to stop and think about what could have been.”
The Standard has called the case an example of institutional racism in New Zealand’s judicial system, commenting “Let’s not pretend for a second that Emery would have got off so lightly if he was an unemployed Maori and his victim a middle class Pakeha child, tagger or not.”
For comparison, in 1994 then 16 year old Siale Fotu was sentenced to life for the murder of Jim Fletcher, the businessman son of Sir James Fletcher, and brother of Fletcher Challenge CEO Hugh Fletcher. Fotu stabbed Mr Fletcher in the chest with a bread and butter knife during a botched burglary.
The courts certainly seem to look at killings differently depending on the age, ethnicity and class position of the victim or offender, in this recent case the judge even noted that Emery received the benefit of mitigating factors such as his “family standing” in the community. New Zealanders should be outraged about this injustice.