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What’s The Issue Over The Bail Bill?

Justice Minister Phil Goff talked tough pre-election about protecting the innocent from crime, yet as a Minister his get tough Bail Bill is a sham, said ACT Corrections spokesman Stephen Franks.

“It shows Corrections Minister Matt Robson has not been politically sidelined for his “milk and cuddles” criminal policy. Instead he has the support of Cabinets academic majority and Phil Goff has not. Phil Goff amended his Bail Bill on Tuesday to hold only villains with 14 or more serious prior convictions. He accepted a further Green amendment at the last minute so that it covers only criminals caught committing an offence while on bail.

“This bizarre“14 strikes and you’re out” cut off point is calculated only to limit the number of extra prison beds needed, because cabinet won’t provide enough. Matt - Cuddles and Milk - Robson clearly has Cabinet support to neuter Phil Goff's limited attempt at giving some effect to election propaganda.

“This insulting amendment is only a bauble tossed to New Zealanders. ACT voted against using remand for trial as preventive detention. We are determined to see sentences that punish and protect, but using remand awaiting trial for that purpose is wrong in principle.

“The presumption of innocence is not a mere technicality to be brushed aside by political grandstanding for public distraction.

“I have moved amendments to be debated today treating offences on bail seriously, rather than the pathetic smack offenders currently get. ACT’s amendments are;  Sentences for offences committed on bail to be served cumulatively not concurrently.  Bail offences are not eligible for the automatic remission that makes every Judge a liar.  Offenders caught offending on bail will be made to serve any time previously remitted.

“Ordinary New Zealand has lost faith in the Government. If it honoured democracy and the 92% of New Zealanders wanting tougher penalties for criminals, the Labour Party would support ACT’s amendments. “National has indicated support for the Bill, so Mr Goff could be sure it will go through whatever Milk and Cuddles Robson thinks, ” said Stephen Franks.

House of Representatives

Supplementary Order Paper

30 May 2000

Bail Bill

Proposed Amendments

Stephen Franks, in committee, to move the following amendment: To insert, after clause 35, the following new clause:

35A Penalties for Offending While On Bail

(1) Sentences for offences committed while on bail must be served cumulatively and not concurrently with any other sentences of the offender. (2) When sentencing an offender who has committed offences while on bail, for the offences with which the offender was charged when bail was granted, the Judge must not take into account the sentences to which the offender will or may become liable for the offences committed while on bail. (3) When sentencing an offender for offences committed while on bail the Judge must take into account as a material aggravation of the wrongdoing represented by those offences, (a) the breach of the trust expressed by the community in releasing the offender on bail and (b) the contempt for the law shown by the offender in committing offences while on bail

(4) Nothing in section 90 of the Criminal Justice Act 1985 shall apply to any unexpired or subsequent sentence of a person convicted of committing any offence punishable by imprisonment, while on bail. (4) Every offender who commits an offence punishable by imprisonment while on bail, shall be recalled to serve any part of any earlier sentence of imprisonment not served by reason of release on parole under section 89 of the Criminal Justice Act 1985 or early final release under section 90 of that Act (5) Explanatory Note The intention of the amendment is

(a) to ensure that offences committed while on bail are not effectively ‘penalty free’ through the effect of concurrent sentencing (b) to provide penalties for committing offences while on bail that deter such offending.

ENDS


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