Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Law Commission Report On Battered Defendants

Goff On Law Commission Report On Battered Defendants

Justice Minister, Phil Goff, has welcomed a report and recommendations of the Law Commission tabled in the House today.

The Report examines criminal defences available for murder and other offences with a particular focus on battered defendants.

“The key challenge in reforming the law is how to ensure that mitigating circumstances can properly be taken into account when a defendant such as a battered person faces serious criminal charges.

“Clearly while the law cannot condone or excuse the actions of a person who has killed another individual, the effect of circumstances such as having suffered years of violence from the deceased must be able to be taken fully into consideration by the Court in determining how the offender is to be dealt with.

“The strongest theme emerging from the Law Commission’s recommendations, and the submissions made to it, is the need for change to the mandatory life sentence for murder.

“At present anyone convicted of murder, even in circumstances such as a mercy killing or retaliation for years of consistent and brutal violence, faces a mandatory life sentence and imprisonment for a minimum of ten years.

“The potential injustice from such situations has largely been avoided only by juries who chose to acquit or find a verdict of manslaughter out of sympathy for the defendant even when it is clear that he or she has intentionally killed.

“The Law Commission strongly recommends that there should be flexibility by the Judge to take mitigating factors into account when sentencing for murder in these cases.

“The Commission supports the limited discretion announced by the Government in its Sentencing and Parole Review that “the sentence for murder should be life imprisonment unless the circumstances of the offending or offender would make such a sentence clearly unjust”.

“This allows for an honest verdict by a jury that while the killing was intentional, the factors which make the killing less culpable can and will be taken into account in diminishing the severity of the sentence.

“The Commission report also argues for reform of self-defence laws so that the inevitability of violence and not just the imminence of violence by the deceased can be taken into account in allowing the defendant to claim self-defence.

“It also recommends the removal of provocation as a partial defence and any new defence of diminished responsibility. These factors are complex and difficult defences to explain to juries and are inconsistently applied. They are better dealt with not as partial defences but as mitigating factors to take into account in sentencing.

“I am generally supportive of the Law Commission’s recommendations. A limited discretion for imposing sentences of less than life for murder where there are strongly mitigating circumstances will be introduced as part of the Sentencing Bill which comes before Parliament next month. The other recommendations will be referred to the Ministry of Justice for further work and are likely to be incorporated into future criminal law reform legislation,” Mr Goff said.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

The Pike River Mine Drift will be re-entered, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced today.

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little...

“The advice I have received indicates that it is likely to be around February before the re-entry proper gets underway, by breaching the 30m seal.” More>>

 

Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>

ALSO:

Rebuilding: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>

ALSO:

Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>

ALSO:

"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>

ALSO:

Govt Loses In Supreme Court: Call For Debate On Prisoners' Right To Vote

The court earlier this week upheld a High Court decision which found that a law restricting a prisoner's right to vote was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels