INDEPENDENT NEWS

Blame Goff For White-Collar Leniency

Published: Fri 8 Oct 2004 09:06 AM
Blame Goff For White-Collar Leniency
Friday 8 Oct 2004
Stephen Franks - Press Releases - Crime & Justice
It is Justice Minister Phil Goff who should be taking the heat over white-collar crime leniency, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.
"The entire Sentencing Act philosophy is to make punishment fit the needs of the criminal, and judges have little choice but to give concessions for conventional lifestyles and the prospect of going straight," Mr Franks said.
"The Act doesn't use the word punishment, and carefully avoids any concept of paying the price or retribution. It requires the judge to:
· `impose the least restrictive outcome that is appropriate in the circumstances'
· `take into account any particular circumstances of the offender that mean a sentence, or other means of dealing with the offender, that would otherwise be appropriate would...be disproportionately severe'
· `take into account the offender's personal, family, whanau, community, and cultural background in imposing a sentence...with a partly or wholly rehabilitative purpose'
· take into account `any evidence of the offender's previous good character'
"The Act says `the court must have regard to the desirability of keeping offenders in the community as far as that is practicable and consonant with the safety of the community'.
"It goes on to say that the court must not impose a sentence of imprisonment unless the sentencing purposes cannot be achieved by any other sentence.
"The Act is stuffed full of instructions to the court not to impose conditions unless they are related to the rehabilitation and well-being of the offender.
"Mr Goff knows that judges are merely carrying out Labour's instructions, it is disgraceful for him to sit silently they are pilloried after his Government's serious fraud prosecutor rightly highlights the inadequacies of court sentences for white-collar crime," Mr Franks said.
ENDS

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