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


Bad Law For Mad Killers

Bad Law For Mad Killers

ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today urged a rethink of the system that draws such huge distinction between `mad' and `bad', after reports that Raurimu killer Stephen Anderson is entitled to leave into the community - only six years after killing six people.

"Whether he be `mad' or `bad', the fact of the matter is that Stephen Anderson went on a rampage and deliberately ended the lives of six people. How can we be sure he will not do so again once he's back out on the streets?" Mr Franks said.

"Insanity should affect the kind of custody but - until we have better reason to trust the psychiatric system - it should not mean that the victims' families have to find the killer wandering amongst them, long before anyone could say he will never do it again.

"Anderson was acquitted by reason of insanity. There's no doubt he killed six people - yet he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The verdict should be guilty, but insane.

"Insane killers shouldn't be in prison, but should be in custody - they should be locked up while the madness persists, even if it could be controlled by medication. Concern for others' safety is only part of this. It's unfair to victims, and those who fear becoming so, for the mental health system to say, `trust us, we know what we're doing', when clearly they don't.

"Though it should matter that Stephen Anderson was `mad' at the time, it shouldn't mean he is treated as if his insanity has no more importance than ordinary mental illness. He is a killer. He stopped taking his medication once - after only six years, who's to say he won't again? Should he kill again, he will be treated as a victim of the `mad' variety.

"The distinction between sane and insane killers puts more innocent lives at risk. I have long objected to this - dare I say it - insane division, as well as the fact that `life imprisonment' can mean anything from one year to 17 years.

"What will the Government say if Stephen Anderson kills again? `It was not our fault, we thought he was curably mad, not bad'. Ordinary commonsense knows it is possible to be both at the same time. Either way, we can be sure of exactly what his next victims' families would think," Mr Franks said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation

Friday will be a big day for people north of Kaikōura – and for hundreds of construction workers who are racing to reopen State Highway 1 in time for the holiday season.

By the afternoon, the South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>


BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>


Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>


State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need... More>>





Featured InfoPages