INDEPENDENT NEWS

Tougher Sentencing Fraud Exposed

Published: Fri 17 Aug 2001 12:47 AM
National's Police Spokesman Tony Ryall has accused the Government of a tougher sentencing fraud. Mr Goff's Bill gives serious violent crims a "get out of jail early card".
Mr Ryall was speaking at a meeting in Nelson where he said that while there is a perception that the Government's Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill achieves the objectives of the Withers' referendum for tougher penalties, the reality is quite different.
"Under the guise of apparent toughening of the law, many serious violent offenders like rapists, robbers and muggers will be released much earlier than at present.
"The Withers' referendum was all about tougher sentences. Mr Withers' mother was severely beaten. Her attacker was convicted of wounding with intent and aggravated robbery and was sentenced to 10 years in jail.
"Under the current law, that means the attacker doesn't qualify for parole for 6 years and 9 months. Under Mr Goff's proposal, such thugs would qualify for parole in half that time - he would be eligible for release after only 3 years 3 months. This is a get out of jail early card.
"A reduction in jail time for serious violent offenders is not what New Zealander's thought they would get as a result of their overwhelming support for the Withers' referendum.
"Most New Zealanders don't even want offenders released when two-thirds of their sentence has been completed. The Labour-Alliance Government's proposal will see most serious violent offenders qualify for parole after only one third of their sentence.
"The trade off this Government has made is quite clear. In return for tightening the rules for a small number of extremely violent headline offenders (the cases that get on TV), a much larger group including rapists, robbers and bashers will be eligible for earlier release. This is a tougher sentencing fraud," Mr Ryall said.
Ends
Attached: List of serious violent offences that will qualify for early release
Serious violent offences from the Criminal Justice Act 1985
Interpretation
Serious violent offence means an offence against any of the following provisions of the Crimes Act 1961 in respect of which a determinate sentence of more than 2 years imprisonment is imposed on the offender:
(a) Section 128 (sexual violation):
(b) Section 171 (manslaughter):
(c) Section 173 (attempt to murder):
(d) Section 188(1) (wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm):
(e) Section 188(2) (wounding with intent to injure):
(f) Section 189(1) (injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm):
(g) Section 189(2) (injuring with intent to injure):
(h) Section 198A (using a firearm against law enforcement officer, etc.):
(i) Section 198B (commission of crime with firearm):
(j) Section 234 (robbery):
(k) Section 235 (aggravated robbery):

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