Tim Walker’s Manslaughter

How comforting it is to know that the price of murder in New Zealand is really only a manslaughter charge.

When two minors entered the Railside Dairy in Henderson, West Auckland earlier this month, no one disputes that they did so with the intention of robbing the premises. When dairy owner and father of two, Arun Kumar refused to cooperate with these child-thugs and even threatened them with a weapon of his own, I think neither does anyone dispute that it was the kids’ lack of frontal lobe development that led one of them to impale his knife in the neck of Arun Kumar. Certainly no one disputes that this is what led to his slow and painful death, anyway.

What is in dispute however, is whether this knife-wielding-maniac of a child actually intended to kill Mr Kumar. The defence is claiming that when confronted with a weapon the boy panicked, leapt in the air and thrust his knife into one of least accessible regions on a man to unintentionally bury a blade. The defence maintains that this delinquent (no, the lawyer doesn’t refer to his own client as a delinquent, just me) had no premeditated desire to injure Mr Kumar and despite ultimately being responsible for the man’s death, should not be on trial for murder.

The fact that pairs of minors are entering dairies in West Auckland intending to carry out armed robbery is bad enough, and although personally the whole thing smacks of gang initiation, that doesn’t makes the situation any less reprehensible.

Here we have an example of two lads who, if allowed to continue on their current paths, will never amount to much of anything, least of all productive members of society. Yet seemingly a judge has taken into consideration their obvious youth, their apparent innocence, and the fact that they killed Arun Kumar without intent – given Kumar had a weapon it seems these boys can even claim self-defence, although I would have said being there to rob the joint meant they effectively forewent that right but then I’m not a high-priced lawyer, am I?

The killer was given manslaughter. The accomplice’s charge I don’t believe has yet been decided. Either way this loving father and husband, Arun Kumar, is no longer able to support or to just be there for his family.

The most frustrating thing about this case, I felt, was that once these little shitheads are released back onto the streets of West Auckland, the first place they’re likely to go is into the embrace of the nearest gang, where a life of further crime and probable murder will undoubtedly ensue.

Gotta love that NZ judicial system.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Joss Tace

Photography by Trav S Tay

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