Rules Need To Be Changed

Published: Fri 13 Nov 2009 04:10 PM
Rules Need To Be Changed
David Garrett MP, ACT New Zealand
Friday, November 14 2009
ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman David Garrett today announced that he will draft a Private Members' Bill – in support of calls from the father of murder victim Sophie Elliott – to change the rules regarding censorship of victim impact statements, giving victims and their families more freedom to confront those criminals who have afflicted their lives.
"Victim impact statements are often the only opportunity a victim or their family will have to tell the offender of the effects of their crime. Mr Gil Elliott and his family have every right to feel aggrieved that the judge at Clayton Weatherston's sentencing ordered the heavy censorship of their victim impact statement," Mr Garrett said.
"Clayton Weatherston brutally murdered Sophie Elliott in her family home and, in doing so, sentenced the Elliott family to a lifetime of pain. It is they who feel the effects of her loss every day and who deserve the right to speak their mind to the man who coldly and callously took their daughter from them.
"Although Justice Minister Simon Power is currently reviewing impact statements and other aspects of victims' rights, there is no guarantee that this will result in more freedom for victims' families.
"That is why I am currently drafting a Private Member's Bill to amend the current rules regarding what can be said in an impact statement – specifically the rule that victims cannot criticise offenders. It is time that we upheld the rights of victims, rather than trying so hard to ensure that criminals' feelings aren't hurt," Mr Garrett said.

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