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Victims Rights Law An Insult

Victims Rights Law An Insult

Jonathon Tolo would not have been left confined to expressing his anger about a light sentence through the Dominion Post if ACT work on the Victims Rights law had been accepted by the Government, ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Mr Tolo was outraged by the community work sentence given to a woman who had blinded him in one eye. He said `I really wanted to say something in court but it wasn't allowed', Mr Franks said.

"The Government should be ashamed that an innocent victim has a court gag added to his suffering.

"Last year's Victims Rights Act would have let victims comment to the judge on sentencing, if the Government had not blocked it. This is a right long-established in other countries, and I saw it in action in France four months ago.

"The judge would not have to go along with the victim's urgings any more than they have to go along with the excuses they are obliged to listen to from a victim's family or whanau.

"But Justice Minister Phil Goff is so anxious to ensure that official dogma prevails, and so determined to make sure judges do not give tough sentences, that he was not willing to risk having judges hear from the victims.

"I commend the Dominion Post for bringing Mr Tolo's story to the public," said Mr Franks.

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