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Three Degrees of Murder Bill before the House

Brian Neeson

Opposition Police Spokesperson

16 February 2000

Three Degrees of Murder Bill before the House

Opposition Police Spokesperson Brian Neeson today welcomed the Justice and Law Reform Select Committee's interim report back to Parliament on his Three Degrees of Murder Bill saying Norm Wither's petition gave a resoundingly clear message to the Government that New Zealanders want tougher sentences.

"In 1994 John and Josie Harrison were murder in cold blood in their bedroom by two young thugs. Gresham Marsh, one of the killers, is considered by his own sister to be "unredeemable" and "extremely dangerous". He got a life sentence, which means he will be up for parole within the next few years. We don't want people like this back on the streets so soon.

"The Harrison case is one of many where the punishment does not fit the crime. New Zealanders wonder why life does not mean life in cases like this.

"Over 90% of those who voted in last year's referendum want a tougher approach to violent crime. My Three Degrees of Murder Bill will give the court system the ability to sort out the worst murderers and ensure that they receive the maximum sentence - 25 years in prison at a minimum.

"This Bill is supported by lawyers, judges, family and friends of murder victims, politicians and the majority of the public. It is time to face reality and put this Bill into law. There is overwhelming support for it," Mr Neeson said.


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