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Judges In The Wrong Quandary

Judges In The Wrong Quandary

Sunday 25th Jun 2000 Stephen Franks Media Release -- Justice

ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks says common sense New Zealanders will despair at the twisted values of our criminal justice system shown by Justice William’s complaint that Teina Pora has been caught by the home invasion law. The judge says that it is “repugnant to justice” that Pora’s non-parole period accordingly expires in 2006 and not 2003. ”Hang on a minute. Pora is sentenced to life imprisonment. That is what the Judge solemnly states to the Court and the victim’s family. Susan Burdett won’t be getting back with her family in 2003 or 2006. She was snuffed out forever in those terrible last hours. The life sentence tries to tell us the scales are balanced by Pora facing up to life in prison. “Pora’s eligibility for parole is a privilege. The Parole Board can keep Pora in for more than thirteen years if it so decides. And Parliament wants the privilege limited where home invasion is involved. But politicians ten years ago, created automatic parole that lets criminals out, after as little as half of some sentences. If the Judges are now telling us their real sentences are net of parole expectations (so that a change in parole terms is a retrospective penalty increase) then they are admitting having being been inveigled by Parliament into misleading the public. “ACT's Truth in Sentencing Bill, that still awaits Select Committee report back, would eliminate these lies. “Do the Judges feel no shame when live victims and their families hear them give sentences they never expect to be served? Why do they not declare that repugnant? “If New Zealanders heard Judges say what pitiful times vile criminals will actually be locked up for the Government would not be getting away with diversionary attention to bail and unproven substitutes for proper sentencing ,” said Stephen Franks.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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