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Goff's Attack on the Judiciary is Scandalous

Goff's Attack on the Judiciary is Scandalous

Friday 2 Aug 2002 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Crime & Justice -- Zero Tolerance for Crime

ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today condemned Phil Goff for his extraordinary attack on New Zealand's judiciary.

"The Minister knows that Judges cannot defend themselves against his accusations under our constitutional conventions. To accuse Judges of failing to read his new Sentencing Act is an insulting way of saying they are not applying the law. When law is so badly conceived even judges can't follow it - the Minister's proper response would have been an apology, and an undertaking to make it clearer as soon as Parliament sits.

"They've read the legislation Mr Goff, like the rest of New Zealanders they just don't know what it is supposed to mean and do.

"Now that the election is over Mr Goff should have the good grace to admit that he pushed flawed legislation through Parliament against warnings from the only experienced lawyers in Parliament and take steps to fix up his mess.

"How many Judges does Mr Goff need to tell him that his Sentencing Act is a dog? Is he now intending to verbally machine gun every Judge who points out yet another flaw with the Act?

"When will Attorney General Margaret Wilson do her constitutional duty and start defending the judges against her colleague. It wasn't the judges who botched this law. They didn't ask to have every short sentence automatically cut in half.

"ACT vigorously opposed Mr Goff's sentencing and parole legislation. We proposed over 160 amendment clauses. Mr Goff accepted two.

"In this Parliament ACT will continue to lead the fight for truth in sentencing. We will push for serious amendments to this flawed legislation.

"I hope Peter Dunne has not signed away the right of his earnest new members to bring down the government if they act like this and keep refusing to toughen up on crime and criminals.

"Mr Goff's outburst today is simply a shameful attempt to divert blame from the mounting problems his legislation is causing in our courts," Stephen Franks said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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