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Sentencing Must Reflect Our Serious Concern

Wayne Mapp National Justice Spokesperson

17 June 2001

Sentencing must reflect our serious concern for children

The Children's Commissioner Roger McClay has raised a fundamentally important question over whether our society is actually serious about protecting children, National's Justice spokesperson Wayne Mapp said today.

Dr Mapp's supporting concern follows outcries that the two women involved in the killing of Hinewaioriki Karaitiana-Matiaha, known as Lillybing, could be freed after serving only two-thirds of their sentences. Namana could be out in four years and Paewai in 16 months.

"The sentencing disparities between those involved in the killing of children and those involved in the killing of adults is a stark reminder that the law is not offering adequate protection to our children.

"The Minister of Justice Phil Goff tells us the solutions lie in his Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill, but information National has seen so far about the bill has shown that it goes nowhere near properly addressing the real issues.

"Before presenting the bill to the House the Minister must assure everyone that the issues around child abuse and child killing have been taken care of.

"Let's not forget that the 92% of New Zealanders who supported the Withers' referendum wanted adequate sentences for those who do serious wrong to children as well.

"While the lawmakers and the judiciary must implement sentences that reflect public concern and the seriousness of the crime, friends and family members and social agencies and health professionals must all take responsibility for the plight of child abuse.

"The Minister too must also accept his responsibility and make sure his bill is drafted accordingly. Judges must also hear the message. Tougher sentences are an important tool to demonstrate that as a country we are serious about reducing the appalling child abuse and child killing statistics," Dr Mapp said.


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