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Sentencing Law Under Attack Again

3 September 2002

Sentencing Law Under Attack Again

It's no surprise that the Court of Appeal has expressed concern about the new Sentencing and Parole Act, says National's Courts spokesman Tony Ryall.

"This new law needs to be amended urgently.

"National told the Government time and time again that the law was seriously flawed. In recent weeks, this has been proven with two High Court judges questioning the law around offenders being allowed to apply for parole after serving a third of their prison time.

"Now the Court of Appeal has today raised similar concerns with the Haden Brown case, asking whether all offenders being eligible for parole after a third of their terms would impact on the courts' ability to impose meaningful deterrent penalties.

"This must sound alarm bells. The Justice Minister has been quick to previously question if judges are applying the law properly, but he has failed to see that the problem is with the law itself.

"This law was supposed to be the Government's answer to the referendum calling for tougher sentences. All it has delivered is confusion in our courts.

"Immediate amendments should include doubling the minimum non-parole period and its application in every case of violence," says Mr Ryall.


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