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Sentencing law - what is going on?

Sentencing law - what is going on?

National's Sentencing spokesman Tony Ryall is calling for amendments to the Sentencing Act to "fix yet another defect in Phil Goff's laws."

"New Zealanders want longer sentences for vicious crimes and they must not be denied. A life sentence should mean life for these sorts of criminals.

"Yet today, the Court of Appeal has cut the sentences of two killers citing uncertainty around the new legislation," says Mr Ryall.

"This has come only days after senior judges criticised the minimum non-parole period for rape which would result in lighter sentences being handed down to rapists.

"Phil Goff must move now to bring in amending legislation to fix the myriad of mistakes and appalling consequences flowing from his laws.

"The so-called 'settling down period' for the Sentencing Act has been nothing but an embarrassment for this Government," says Mr Ryall.

"When William Bell was sentenced to a minimum 33 year non-parole period, Phil Goff crowed: "Today's sentence, following the Howse decision (28 years' non-parole for double murder), is further evidence that the new sentencing law... is being carried out."

"He went on to say: "The government's intentions in toughening the legislation have been acknowledged and are now clearly being put into effect by the courts."

"30 years is still a long time, but that's not the point. The point is the legislation is not reflecting the will of the 92 per cent of New Zealanders who backed the Withers Referendum in 1999," says Mr Ryall.

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