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No excuse for premeditated murder

Wayne Mapp National Justice Spokesperson

Thursday 19 July 2001

No excuse for premeditated murder

National's Justice spokesperson Wayne Mapp says that the Government's plans for sentencing reform for battered defendants are too sweeping and run the risk of allowing people to use the defence of abuse whenever they are accused of murder.

"It is wrong that someone who commits a premeditated murder will be able to use the battered person defence and receive a discounted term of imprisonment.

"There is already a defence of provocation that can be used when a person is continually provoked and then lashes out. This is quite different to a well thought out, premeditated murder. Provocation is immediate and overwhelming.

"Mr Goff is sending all of the wrong signals to people who want to get out of violent relationships. Violent relationships are terrible situations for any person to be in, but the appropriate response is to leave or seek help, not plan a murder.

"It should only be in a truly exceptional case where the Court has the power to impose a sentence of less than ten years for murder.

"If a battered person, such as Gaylene Oakes, has carefully planned a murder over a period of time why should they get a lesser sentence? There was intent, she knew what she was doing and it was premeditated.

"Mr Goff's plans will set a dangerous precedent that any person who kills their spouse will use as a defence.

"I am not opposed to judges having discretion in truly exceptional situations but it is wrong to include situations where a person has carefully planned the killing of their spouse," Dr Mapp said.

Ends

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