Parliament

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

 

Abuse Excuses Could Muddy The Law

Proposed changes to sentencing of battered defendants will blur law that should be certain, ACT MP Stephen Franks said today.

"Murder should stay as our most serious and indefensible crime, with longer minimum sentences.

"The proposed 'flexibility' for judges welcomed by Justice Minister Phil Goff could end up turning New Zealanders against the judges.

"Our current law lets juries decide to use manslaughter instead of murder in some cases. We should expand this approach.

"Instead, the Government's changes will take the decisions away from juries and give it to judges.

"Well intentioned and even soundly-based lenient sentences by judges can destroy confidence in justice. Minimum sentencing for murder is fundamental to respect for human life.

"Self defence and provocation are old and sound principles. Twenty years ago they were mucked up by amendments to the Crimes Act. As defences they should reduce murder to a less culpable form of homicide, or in some cases form the complete justification.

"Degrees of homicide will allow juries to apply their common sense leaving the judge to decide sentence in cases where the jury agrees the circumstances do not warrant a murder conviction.

"The Minister's endorsement of the Commission's report is a worrying indication that next month's Sentencing Bill will continue with our thirty year failed criminal justice experiment with punishment that doesn't mean what it says.

"The nominal increases in headline sentencing will be outweighed by reductions in sentences from 'judicial flexibility'. The message to criminals will be the same: 'Abuse excuses work'," Stephen Franks said.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

CPAG Report: The Further Fraying Of The Welfare Safety Net

New Zealand’s welfare system has undergone a major transformation during the past three decades. This process has seriously thwarted the original intent of the system, which was to provide a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders in times of need...

In 2017 it is not unusual for families to be living in their cars, in garages, or in substandard boarding houses. Food banks are unable to meet the soaring demands from not only beneficiaries but, increasingly, the working poor. Private charities, such as KidsCan and Variety, are overwhelmed by the demand from poor families for basic necessities. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Risks & Adaptation: Cheaper To Cut Emissions Than Deal With Climate Change

The cost of climate change to New Zealand is still unknown, but a group of experts tasked with plugging the country's information gaps says it will likely be significant and it would be cheaper to cut greenhouse emissions than simply adapting to those changes. More>>

ALSO:

BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>

ALSO:

Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>

ALSO:

State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages