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Govt Blocks True Life Sentence For Alder

"The Judge in Hastings should have the option to ensure life in prison for the vile man who ran down Margaret Lynne Baxter then raped and murdered her", says ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks.

"The Judge doesn't have that choice because of a cynical political calculation by Mr Goff to keep the sentencing reform for election year. Even then the Government won't let life mean life.

"ACT will ensure that life can mean life imprisonment for beasts like Alder.

"Those close to Ms Baxter will never see her again, while Alder must come out with decades of life left to live with his associates - because Parliament has not been allowed to change our absurd parole law. Even the Government's weak sentencing `reforms' cannot take effect until later next year.

"The New South Wales Parliament has ensured that life sentences mean what they say for the worst category of murderers. It applies to prisoners given life sentences before the reform. Normal parole expectations don't apply, so they will never be released.

"Many would want Alder executed for his vile crime. I can't support the death penalty with our current risks of mistaken conviction, and concern about manufacturing of evidence. But without the death penalty we at least owe it to those who will hear the sentence of `life imprisonment' on 7 December, to ensure truth in sentencing. Truth in sentencing for those foulest crimes would mean the victims' family and friends could feel that for practical purposes the murderer has gone from their lives and will never re-emerge.

"Ministers Goff and Robson want their Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill passed during election year but not to have any practical effect before the election. They want to look busy on law and order, close to the election, but early implementation would uncover that it is just a cynical reheat of the existing failed approach to criminal justice.

"This is not just usual Government dithering. It is deliberate political calculation that means Alder's parole entitlements will be fixed under the current disgraceful law.

"If the Government had taken the referendum seriously Alder would be being sentenced under law that could let the Court get a little closer to true justice, Stephen Franks said. ACT will ensure that life can mean life," Stephen Franks said.


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