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Panic Patch on Paedophile Law

Panic Patch on Paedophile Law

Friday 6 Jun 2003 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Crime & Justice

ACT looks forward to the details of Justice Minister Phil Goff's hasty promise to let courts order supervision for paedophiles after they get out of prison but it is a panic patch on the law. The principle should apply to a whole range of predictably dangerous offenders, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Even his proposed 10 year supervision period is an ad-hoc patch. What about arsonists? What about others too mad to be convicted for terrible deeds, but not mad enough for the psychiatrists to keep locked up?

"It is time to admit the Sentencing and Parole Acts were a whitewash, an attempt to look busy while heading in the opposite direction from the Withers' referendum's public demand for tougher sentences and more care for victims. It is time to do a real reform. Abolish parole and provide for a mandatory period of supervision at the end of every sentence.

"It's just a pity Mr Goff forced his fellow Labour MPs to vote last year against ACT's amendments to his Sentencing Act. They would have let judges set post release conditions more generally. ACT amendments would have preserved judges' traditional powers to determine the kinds of post release conditions, instead of giving almost all power to Corrections officials and setting a one year limit," Mr 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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