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Make Your Rage About Rapist Constructive

Make Your Rage About Rapist Constructive

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today called on people outraged by multiple rapist Michael Carroll's parole to make their protest effective, and to direct the rage at the cynical politicians who set up the parole system precisely to set these beasts free.

"The Parole Board is just the dumb agent to do the Government's dirty work. Labour had to pretend to act on the Withers Referendum, though they hated it. The Board was designed to ensure that what looked like tougher sentencing would actually mean less imprisonment in practice. The court process is now a charade to mislead the punters - it is the Parole Board that does the real sentencing. And that Board is appointed by Ministers who so disliked the term `punishment' that they cut it from their new sentencing and parole law," Mr Franks said.

"I'm told Carroll can be charming enough to have as many women as he likes, but he has admitted that he needs them terrified. `I don't want her if she wants it' was how his attitude was described to me.

"Carroll has made idiots out of well meaning people in the past. They were gulled into trusting him, to the terrible cost of the women he then victimised. An expert has now recommended that this animal be given a chance for another victim - though all the experts admit that there is no foolproof way to cure these men, or to know if they've been cured.

"Experts are often wrong. Even with the best intentions, they know a proportion of their assessments will be wrong. Carroll got preventative detention, yet has been let out after little more time than any other serious rapist. Under the Parole Act now, he'll have to breach terms, commit an imprisonable offence, or the Board will have to change its mind and decide he is an `undue risk' before they can recall him to prison. Community fear and outrage isn't enough to allow recall.

"Last year, Justice Minister Phil Goff set the system up for exactly this kind of result. Section 7 of the Parole Act says `offenders must not be detained any longer than is consistent with the safety of the community'. Once the Board thinks a rapist is not an `undue risk', they must let him out to prove it. They have no power to insist on fulfilling the original terms of the sentence, or the court's reasoning, if it conflicts with their opinion that risk is not undue.

"ACT repeatedly asked Mr Goff how the Board would assess this more safely than in the past. He never explained, instead repeating the magic words `safety of the community' more loudly each time.

"Sentences must be given in public after trial in open court. Judges must give reasons for sentences. But the Minister's anonymous, temporary Parole Board appointees can ignore and undo the Court's sentence in secret proceedings, with no public testing of the so-called evidence, or explanation. Even when asked, they are not required to give reasons. Courts must state the conditions of sentences, but Parole Boards suppress the conditions of parole, even those vital to understanding the Board's reasoning.

"No one can show that parole serves any purpose, other than keeping prison musters down. Parole must be replaced with truth in sentencing. Until then, the Board should be forced to operate in public, with just as much transparency and explanation as in the courts whose sentences they trivialise", Mr Franks said.

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