Yesterday a jury found Gavin Gosnell guilty of murdering a teenage boy named Hayden Miles. They not only found him guilty but in doing so, they agreed with the Crown that the extreme violence meted out to Mr Miles by Mr Gosnell was not only immensely disrespectful to the deceased, but also callously sadistic. The details of how he died make for very hard reading. But what are the prospects of Mr Gosnell?
Mr Miles’ family we know has been condemned to the most horrible outcome a family could have. They have lost a son, a family member. The friends of Mr Miles are missing a mate, someone that they could rely on and have good times together as mates do.
For his part, Mr Gosnell is completely missing any sense of humanity. He struck me as cold, remorseless and not in the least bit willing to comprehend what he has done to Mr Miles and his family. He always appeared to be lacking any emotion. The jurors that found him guilty will hopefully be exempt from having to do jury service for quite sometime to come. They would have seen evidence and heard details that the likes of which one would only normally expect to see in a horror movie of some sort.
The sentence that Mr Gosnell should have to face, should be something more than the excessively light standard 10 years non-parole. Given that he has committed murder something like 20 years would be a better starting point. On top of that one should add the cruelty and the dismembering of the body. For the extreme level of violence used and the fact that he hid the dismembered remains, another 10 years would be ideal. When he gets out, his release conditions should include being denied the right to hold a drivers license, passport or firearms license. Mr Miles was deprived of them by his murder so, it is proper that Mr Gosnell be likewise denied these.
The murder case raises some questions about influences on Mr Gosnell that might have induced this act. Can anything be found that might point to warning signs, which might be used as indicators for dealing with any other person in New Zealand who might be contemplating such extreme action?
Given the long term loss of Mr Miles to his family, is there some sort of additional assistance that they might be in need of, or which the Department of Work and Income can help them with. As Mr Miles will no longer be able to support his parents or etch out a life of his own it seems proper to me that his surviving family are eligible for such assistance. It will not bring Hayden Miles back, but just maybe make the days of grieving, moving on as best as they can that much more tolerable.
These are people who in an ideal world, probably would never get out of prison. However in the real world, costs and human rights make things somewhat different. I would hope that prisoners come to understand why they are in jail and try to make amends, but there will always be a few for whom life should mean exactly that.