An Open Letter to the Rt Hon John Key, Hon Judith Collins & Ray Smith…#freevicki

In the interests of full disclosure, I don’t know Vicki Letele. I’ve never met her. I have however met Dave, her brother, and I belong to his fitness motivation group. But these facts don’t come into consideration when thinking about the situation that surrounds Vicki.

I am actually really disgusted that our society needs to have this conversation. I am disappointed. We are a Christian nation – our anthem rings out proudly “God of Nations” – and yet we are behaving in a manner that is most un-Christian like. It is unhealthy for society that anyone is treated in this manner. The Judaic judicial code of “an eye for an eye” is outdated and isn’t what our judicial code is based on.

So what did Vicki do? It’s a matter of public record…

She used fake documents to get finance for low income families, then sold those families properties belonging to people that she was related to – and there was a financial kick back for her. She made a profit. And a considerable profit.

The serious fraud office investigated – and she was found guilty of 10 charges of dishonestly using a document. The fraud amounted to $3.6 million. (Rachel Smalley, NZ HERALD).

In direct contrast, the former South Canterbury Finance Limited (South Canterbury) Director and Lawyer Edward Oral Sullivan was sentenced in the High Court to 12 months’ home detention and 400 hours of community work. The charges arose out of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into SCF’s collapse in 2010 which resulted in $1.58 billion being paid out under the Government guarantee.

I haven’t read anywhere that as a tax payer, I paid out for Vicki’s fraud like I have with Sullivan and Hubbard. I do know that as a tax payer, I’m paying a lot more for her to be housed in Wiri’s correctional facility than I would if she had home detention, even before her care needs escalated. And don’t even get me started on how two judges came to such different sentences, given that both pleaded guilty and the start point was very similar. Arguably if Vicki had the same sentence this cancer would have been discovered earlier and her life expectancy would be beyond the 3-5 months that it currently is. She would certainly have been able to see out the full sentence.

The (parole) board said that Letele’s condition would inevitably deteriorate to the extent she would require hospice care and at that time compassionate release would be appropriate.

In contrast to the submissions of several doctors and a nurse, Corrections opposes early compassionate release and has told the board that she is being adequately cared for in prison. (NZ HERALD).

Uh-huh. No. This is not believable, given the delays in obtaining the correct medical treatment for Vicki. It’s not believable, given the lack of medical knowledge that the prison staff have. It’s not believable, given that Vicki’s cellmates are having to share the care of Vicki, who is too weak to care for herself. Leaving her largely isolated from family & respite care until what Corrections judge at 3-5 days from death isn’t humane for anyone, let alone her children, who will need this time with her. All it will do is continue to hasten her inevitable death.

I would like to see Vicki’s sentence transferred to Home Detention. I would also like to see that the same good sense is spread out to other inmates who are in similar situations. We all know that Vicki’s isn’t an isolated case, so let’s look for those people. Let’s take care of the weak and vulnerable. Let’s be both compassionate and sensible.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

Kind regards,




Good news – Corrections are re-considering their decision. I really hope common sense & compassion prevail.