[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Govt sued over RSA killings

It is thought that a multi-million dollar legal action taken against the government over Auckland's triple RSA murder could set a precedent.

Tai Hobson's wife Mary was one of those killed by William Bell at the Mount Wellington-Panmure RSA in December 2001, while he was out on parole.

Bell is serving a 30-year non-parole prison sentence for the murders.

Hobson's husband Tai is suing the Corrections Department for more than $5 million for failing to monitor Bell while he was on parole, at the time of the murders.

Garth McVicar from the Sensible Sentencing Trust says the case is unprecedented and compensation is warranted.

McVicar says compensation is the only recourse victims could try to get from the current justice system.

He says he hopes the case will bring about law change making sentences tougher for convicted murderers.

Hobson's lawyer Keith Jefferies says the Corrections Department failed to supervise Bell properly during his parole period.

Jefferies says governments have a responsibility to their citizens to ensure these departments act appropriately.

He says his client has suffered emotionally because of the loss of his life partner.

Mary Hobson was killed on December 8, 2001, when Bell, wielding a shotgun, and his accomplice Darnell Tupe, 24, attempted to rob the RSA clubrooms of cash takings from the previous evening.

Bell persuaded Susan Couch, 37, to open the door before beating her almost to death.

During the robbery, Bell shot dead club member Johnson, 56, and beat to death club president Absolum, 63, and cleaner Mary Hobson, 44.

During Bell's trial, the court was told that Bell used particular cruelty in committing systematic execution-style killings.

Crown prosecutor Simon Moore said the injuries were horrific and extreme and Bell showed no remorse. He also told the court Bell had a long criminal record and was likely to offend again.

By the time he stood trial for the multiple murders at the age of 24, Bell had accumulated a record of 102 offences - many of them very serious. The list included aggravated robbery, assault, firearms charges, impersonating police, burglary and car theft.

At the time, Justice Minister Phil Goff welcomed Bell's sentence, but said there was scrutiny of his parole conditions.

National's justice spokesman Tony Ryall said he wanted answers about the way probation officers and the police dealt with Bell while he was on parole.

How do you want your news

  • Mobile Devices

    TVNZ is available on mobile phones: Text TVNZ to 8869.

  • News Feeds

    See when TVNZ have added new content. You can get the latest headlines anywhere.

  • Podcasts

    Enjoy TVNZ on the move - a wide range of programmes and highlights are available.