Parliament

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

 

Franks Proposes Remedy For Legal Aid Blow-Out

Franks Proposes Remedy For Legal Aid Blow-Out Risk In Sentencing Bill

ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks wants changes to the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill to block - before it gets up speed - a new legal aid industry in sentencing hearings. "The Bill has strong new incentives for offenders and their lawyers to dispute facts in their trials after they have been convicted but before sentencing," he said.

"Clause 21A, titled Proof of Facts has been introduced into the Bill following Select Committee hearings. It gives defendants' lawyers a new range of opportunities to stretch out court hearings after a verdict has been delivered. They can argue new evidence that has not been presented to the jury and they can force Police to have to disprove all kinds of personal assertions about the defendant and the case that could mitigate against a longer sentence.

"This clause was included in the Bill despite the fact that the Law Society unselfishly told the Select Committee that this new code of criminals' rights would lead to a vast expansion in the time taken for sentencing at trials and would provide a great new industry for legally-aided lawyers.

"The proposed code makes prosecutors prove beyond reasonable doubt the existence of any disputed aggravating fact and disprove asserted mitigating facts. My amendment to the code takes as a starting position that offenders have been convicted. The burden of proof `beyond reasonable doubt' flows from the presumption of innocence. It need not apply after conviction.

"My amendment would help ensure sentencing proceeds as naturally as in the past by:

· Not encouraging criminals to dispute police statements of fact without having to substantiate their objections;

· Establishing sanctions for misuse of the rights intended by section 21A. They are to protect against sentencing on the basis of false facts, not to create new opportunities for spurious appeals;

· Recognising that victim impact statements should be taken into account by judges in sentencing. During the Select Committee hearings a judge told the Committee that they are not presently treated as material to sentencing.

"I look forward to my amendments being given serious consideration by the Government and the House. Justice Minister Phil Goff has expressed outrage about the Tukuafu burglars' legal aid bill. He should be interested in the effort to stop abuse. Without the amendments, the code will invite criminals and their lawyers to exploit sentencing hearings and drag out trials," Stephen Franks said.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New TPP Agreed: Govt Must Explain How Canada Got Changes

Jane Kelsey: Overnight in Japan the remaining eleven governments have concluded the ‘revised’ but essentially unchanged Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA-11), now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership. The signing is set for 8 March 2018 in Chile.

University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey predicts ‘the rebranding of the TPPA won’t fool anyone...

Canada has reportedly secured new protections for culture, as well as rules of origin for automobiles, which was not on the list of outstanding items in the TPPA-11 ministerial statement in December last year. More>>

 

Wellington.Scoop: Our Housing Crisis – And The Unintended Consequences

There is no doubt that we are having some huge issues with housing in Wellington. Finding somewhere to live is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive... But why? And what happens next? More>>

ALSO:

Ministerial Inquiry: Broad Look At Mental Health And Addiction Services

The Government has taken a major step towards improving mental health and addiction services with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing details of a ministerial inquiry. More>>

ALSO:

Wealth: Two NZers Own More Than Poorest 30%

A staggering 28 per cent of all wealth created in New Zealand in 2017 went to the richest 1 per cent of Kiwis, while the 1.4 million people who make up the poorest 30 per cent of the population got barely 1 per cent, according to new research released by Oxfam. More>>

ALSO:

Employment: Joint Working Group On Pay Equity Principles Reconvened

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Iain Lees-Galloway, and Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, are reconvening the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles as the next step in pay equity for New Zealand women. More>>

ALSO:

Hapū: Prime Minister And Clarke Gayford Expecting First Child

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford, have announced that they are expecting their first child in June. “We’re both really happy. We wanted a family but weren’t sure it would happen for us, which has made this news unexpected but exciting." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: on the inquiry into the abuse of children in care

Apparently, PM Jacinda Ardern has chosen to exclude faith-based institutions from the government’s promised inquiry into the abuse of children in state care. Any role for religious institutions – eg the Catholic Church – would be only to observe and to learn from any revelations that arise from the inquiry’s self-limiting focus on state-run institutions… More >>

Gordon Campbell: On Jim Anderton
For anyone born after 1975, it is hard to grasp just how important a figure Jim Anderton was, for an entire generation.
During the mid to late 1980s, Anderton was the only significant public figure of resistance to the Labour government’s headlong embrace of Thatcherism...More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages