APOLOGIES to the great Theodore Dalrymple whose famous essay about the amorality of one criminal – and the abandonment of personal responsibility by modern Western societies generally – will be familiar to most readers. Yesterday in the Brisbane Supreme Court, Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata was sentenced by Justice Peter Davis to two life sentences (with no possibility of parole until 2046) for the horrific toolbox in a creek murders of a man and a woman, Iuliana Triscaru and Cory Breton. Both victims were drug dealers. In the evil, paranoid world they’d chosen to live in – or perhaps just move in and out of to score product and make some cash – the duo had aroused suspicion as possible informants. Tahiata – with several accomplices yet to be tried – decided to kill them. Triscaru and Breton were first lured to a Kingston unit where they were badly beaten by the group, then locked in a large metal toolbox and placed on the back of Tahiata’s ute. They were driven to a creek where the box was thrown in the water by Tahiata and another man, Trent Thrupp. Ironically, Tahiata turned snitch and gave up all the others to police. He covered his ears to muffle the screams, he said, but Thrupp convinced him if they didn’t submerge the pair, they themselves would end up in a box.
What’s clear in the testimony heard so far is that all of the accused believe that they – as individuals – didn’t do the actual killing. The box just went in. The case makes me angry and puts me in two minds about illegal drugs. We know as a matter of fact that the trade can never be beaten. Ever. “We’re talkin’ heroin with the president; well it’s a problem, sir, but it can’t be bent.” That was a Jagger-Richards lyric in “Respectable” (1978) mocking Richard Nixon for once declaring Keith’s beloved smack “public enemy number one.” Forty years later, drugs still can’t be bent. But today I also feel a renewed visceral loathing for the revolting animals involved and want them arrested and locked up for long terms. Between these mixed reactions, do we have to ask ourselves again whether the prohibitionist ‘war on drugs’ should be fought by the state endlessly when it produces generation after generation of hidden monsters preying on the weak and killing so many of them?