A rapist tries to throw a poetry book linked to his life behind bars

Twice-convicted rapist Lewis Scott.

Kevin Stent / Stuff

Twice-convicted rapist Lewis Scott.

Disclaimer: This story deals with sexual assault, which some readers may find distressing.

Twice-convicted rapist Lewis Scott has failed to hold a Wellington launch event for his new book of poetry linked to his time in prison.

The book, by “LE Scott”, is titled Rimutaka Prison: Poems & Prose from a Human Landfill.

Scott was convicted of rape in 2017 after inviting a woman to his home under the guise of a business meeting before pinning her to the ground and assaulting her.

While the Court of Appeals overturned his convictions and remanded him for a new trial after finding there had been a miscarriage of justice in the way the jury’s verdict was reached, a second jury dismissed him. convicted again in 2020.

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The woman only came forward to police after discovering that Scott had been convicted of a separate rape in a back room of her former Wellington Kwanzaa store.

Last week, invitations were emailed to several members of the media for the launch of the new book.

Thistle Hall on Cuba St canceled an event Scott was scheduled to attend.

BRUCE MACKAY/Stuff

Thistle Hall on Cuba St canceled an event Scott was scheduled to attend.

The invite – from a Blueblack Press “Geraldine” – said Anthony Hopkins, Wanjiku Kiarie Sanderson and Moira Wairama would launch the book on Sunday, October 9 at a “private reception” at the Wellington community venue Thistle Hall on Cuba St.

But after discovering that Scott was behind it all, the Thistle Hall board decided to cancel the booking and communicated it to its organizers, said board member Claire Harris.

As a council-funded venue, Thistle Hall was very conscious of community safety, Harris said in an interview. It made the decision to stand up for its values ​​as a place, she said.

The room itself would be locked on Sunday and its manager had been made aware.

Thistle Hall board member Claire Harris said the decision to cancel the event was in line with its values ​​as a venue.

BRUCE MACKAY/Stuff

Thistle Hall board member Claire Harris said the decision to cancel the event was in line with its values ​​as a venue.

Harris said promoted events have a different set of criteria than private events. “We are grateful to the people who have come forward,” Harris said.

One of Scott’s former victims said the problem was the new book’s context – given that the poems were linked to his time in prison. “He should never take advantage of it… [from] book sales or just attention,” she said in an interview.

A cafe in the Hutt Valley also recently created an event that Scott – who is currently on parole – had planned to hold after public complaints, the victim said.

A third venue – The Fringe Bar in Wellington – also recently canceled a poetry recital where Scott was scheduled to perform in August, after further complaints.

Fringe Bar on Allen St in Wellington has canceled a scheduled appearance by Scott in August.

BRUCE MACKAY/Stuff

Fringe Bar on Allen St in Wellington has canceled a scheduled appearance by Scott in August.

The monthly Poetry at the Fringe event was co-founded by Scott. When he was in jail, a team of his supporters “regularly read” Scott’s “sent from jail” poems at the event, according to an online posting by his organizers in late August.

But Fringe Bar said the event had nothing to do with the venue, and it canceled the August poetry session after finding out Scott was scheduled to read there.

“We do not condone the platform of convicted abusers, and we work hard to ensure that we provide an environment where they can speak out safely, but not at the expense of another,” the statement said. management of Fringe Bar in an online statement.

Fringe would ensure that projections at the time of reservations are more vigilant, said its management. The bar management also organized a poetry fundraiser for Wellington Rape Crisis.

Blueblack Press appeared to be an independent publisher and was neither known nor a member of the New Zealand Publishers Association, its chairman Graeme Coslett said.

Publishing decisions were left to individual publishers, and the association did not try to influence what they did or did not publish.

Any publisher, bookseller or venue host would have their own set of ethics when deciding whether or not to host a book launch, Coslett said.

Blueblack Press did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Angela C. Hale