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Why Does ACT Highlight Pardon Petitions?


Why Does ACT Highlight Pardon Petitions?

ACT highlights the Government's dithering and lack of concern about miscarriages of justice, because we believe passionately in justice for everyone - including people that Justice Minister Phil Goff calls `scumbags', ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"I have been asked why we do this when ACT is the `zero tolerance', `tough on crime', `truth in sentencing' party. The answer is simple. As a liberal party, it is the rule of law we uphold, not the `safety' of a police state. We have no choice but to be as passionate about unjust punishment as we are about unjust lack of punishment. Justice won't be justice unless it is as concerned about false convictions as it is about the guilty who get off," Mr Franks said.

"For two years I have been trying to get the Minister to act on Mr Peter Hartley's concerns about the unsafe rape convictions of Dale, Dale & McLeod. Even if we were not true liberals, Mr Rex Haig's petition needs urgent attention for one simple reason: if our system cannot promise that crimes must be proved beyond reasonable doubt - even for scumbags - then the law will not protect the decent innocent either. And it won't have essential public support.

"If people aren't confident that the courts will get at the truth, that witnesses won't suffer retribution, that the police do not manufacture evidence, then they won't support the kind of tough and certain justice that ACT believes is the only solution to our crime wave.

"For an extreme example, many say they would support the death penalty if there was not the risk of mistake.

"A lack of trust in the justice system is intolerable for a party like ACT, which believes in truth in sentencing, zero tolerance, and making criminals pay the price for crime. Decent people must be able to expect that the wrong people will not suffer from restoring toughness to our legal system," Mr Franks said.


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