Skip to Content »

Stalinist show trial of Kathie Rifle

  • March 21st, 2007

Does anyone else hear the echo of Stalin’s show trials in Kathie Rifle’s guilty plea on Monday? Desperately remorseful, she and her husband Jack publicly accepted that the police had to lay careless driving charges against her. The Rifles just wanted to get the process over. The pain won’t end for them.

The world has never understood why so many of  Stalin’s victims went to their deaths publicly apologising for crimes they had never committed. I think we are seeing the mechanism here.

When the entire establishment backs a justice system has been perverted beyond recognition its victims lose confidence in their own judgment. They assume that because they are out of step they deserve the pain inflicted on them. Some even thanked Stalin for his wisdom in ignoring their inability to remember what they had done wrong.

Six months ago three of Mrs Rifle’s children were killed and she was seriously injured when her car landed upside down in a culvert. The cause of the accident is not known. Probably she fell asleep.

What’s the purpose of charging her? What conceivable good can charges do in such circumstances? What court punishment could mean a thing beside her current suffering?. What victim is avenged by these stupid charges? What deterrence can it possibly achieve, greater than the deterrence of losing your loved children, your own health and your car? What conduct is it supposed to denounce and correct – she does not even know what happened. No one does.

Who is protected by this disgraceful police practice of criminalising people with no evil intent? Police do not have the resources even to answer calls for help from victims of deliberate wickedness! Yet they pour thousands of man hours into accidents that no one intends.

Our criminal law has travelled far in the last four decades. It was focussed on the guilty mind, on conscious wrongdoing. Not any longer.

Now the Police would rather force a 35 year old mother, described by the judge as a decent person who had led a blameless life, to weep her guilt in front of a judge, to spend their money on lawyers and then to reassure the Police that they were doing them no wrong.



If there were no skidmarks, and psychological assessment confirmed that she’s a normal mum who loves her children, then she probably did fall asleep. In which case, you are right and she has already been punished enough.

Did the insurance company deny her claim because they thought she was breaking the law? I would hope not.


Yes, tough.
Regardless of Mum’s remorse the kids are still dead. Still dead by drowning in an up-side down van in a drain.
It’s hard to get more mindlessly tragic than that.
Unless, you run down your bike riding kids on a rural road with a SUV, which happened in the Manawatu a couple of years ago. In that case Dad was also convicted.

Of the two cases I have more sympathy for the Manawatu Dad because he never knew the kids were coming at him on the wrong side of the road whereas Mum in the former case had full control over the situation and the deceased.


This evening’s Sunday programme on this scandalous event was well made, by why o why did Vaughan not ask Superintendent Mark Lammas what on earth he meant when he said it was “appropriate” to charge Kathy Rifle? No good journalists should allow such babble to halt them without challenge.
“Appropriate” is no more an answer than any other in its class, like “accountable” and “unacceptable” and “inappropriate” and their converses. They have the substantive content of “up yours” in the answer to any serious question.

  • Hannah
  • September 18th, 2009
  • 3:24 pm

My family and i are close friends with the Rifles, after having looked after Hannah for a week, while the adoption went through. I Know that Kathy loved her children very much and wouldn’t do anything to intentionally harm them. After all the time and effort she put into her children, It was such a shock when i came home to my mam crying telling me what had happened. Kathy is such an amazing person. I you knew her like we do, you would know that she would never do anything like that ever, intentionally. She puts a decoration on the tree for Hannah, Hikurangi and Ashlie, each year at christmas. She loves them so much. She shouldn’t have been found guilty. She didn’t do anything wrong. If anyone had seen how much she had suffered afterwards, you would know what i’m talking about. it was horrible. We went to visit her and Tamati in hospital and Rehab almost everyday, while they were recovering. Kathy never meant to hurt anyone. She made a mistake that we ALL make on the road. Just dozing off a bit on the way home. She just couldn’t regain control of the car, because of the loose gravel. She made a mistake that everyone makes while driving. She just pulled the short straw. x

Leave your comments:

* Required fields. Your e-mail address will not be published on this site

You can use the following HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>