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Goff appalled by English politicisation of murders

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice
Media Statement

20 May 2002

Goff appalled by English politicisation of murders

Justice Minister Phil Goff is appalled National leader Bill English has misrepresented the new Sentencing Act in an attempt to make political capital out of the recent tragic killings in Auckland.

“Mr English was lying or seriously misguided when in a speech at the weekend he said ‘Labour says their killers will get a lesser sentence.’

“The basis for his confused or deliberately misleading statement was part of an attack on the provision in the Act concerning crimes motivated by hatred of groups such as those based on race or religion.

“What Mr English failed to mention in his speech is that the ‘hate crime’ provision is one aggravating factor among others such as the age and vulnerability of the victim, the use of a weapon, home invasion, multiple murder, the degree of premeditation and the particular cruelty in the commission of the offence.

“Under the Government’s new Sentencing Act which comes into effect for crimes committed from 1 July 2002 the worst murderers will face a minimum non-parole period of AT LEAST 17 years. This will be just a starting point for judges.

“There will be nothing to stop a judge imposing much longer non-parole periods of 20-40 years. Without a doubt, these killings, were they committed after 1 July would come into a category of aggravating factors which would render these offenders liable to a minimum non-parole period of 17 years up from the minimum 10 years under the present legislation. Mr English is being deliberately deceptive to suggest otherwise.

“The ‘hate crime’ provision in the Sentencing Act does not create a special class of victim any more than the young, the elderly, those attacked in their homes, those who are attacked with a weapon or those who suffer particular cruelty are a special class of victim,” said Mr Goff.


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