Thursday, 17 December 2009

Courts get one right

Ex-New Zealand police officer Nathan Connolly, who extorted free services from a prostitute by threatening her a thousand dollars in traffic fines should she not provide him free service, has been sent to prison for two years.

We rarely hear of police trying to extort free accounting or mechanical services. But prostitutes traditionally have been vulnerable to police extortion, because of their precarious legal position. But prostitution is legal in New Zealand, and so the victim of police extortion was able to access legal mechanisms to enforce her rights.

Hoorah to the best piece of legislation to come of the prior Labour government!


  1. The word "rape" seems conspicuous by its absence in the media coverage. Seems that since she's a prostitute, extorted sex doesn't count as rape?

  2. I don't see how it's much different from a police officer pulling over his dentist then demanding free root canals instead of a big traffic fine. Corruption/extortion in either case.

  3. If sex deserves special protection in the law, using a threat to induce sex is more serious than using a threat to induce other services. I don't think it should matter that she's a prostitute.

  4. He was a client of hers prior to the initiation of extortion; that puts it far more into the dentist category for me.

  5. brad: we are in a bit of a mish-mash at the moment - sex does still get special protection in some areas of the law, in other areas of the law it is now a service that can be bought and sold.

    That probably does reflect the dichotomy here - our belief that someone's body is theirs to do as they wish leads to both results - we think they should be free to sell sex if they wish, we also think they should be free from forced sex. So at one end we treat a body like property, and at the other end we treat rape as something very different than forced expropriation of property.

    Despite the logical inconsistencies there, I actually think this is the right position. And so I agree with Crampton.