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'Star' treatment of McDonald not justice

Media Statement For immediate release Tuesday, 9 September, 2003

Alexander: 'Star' treatment of McDonald not justice

Former TV3 newsreader Darren McDonald's eight-month jail sentence for two charges relating to supplying drugs today prompted United Future law and order spokesman Marc Alexander to ask if the new Sentencing Act is being properly used.

"An eight-month sentence for this man - quite possibly to be served at home - essentially because he's a star, just makes a mockery of this country's sentencing laws," Mr Alexander said.

In questioning Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel, Mr Alexander asked if celebrity status should make a prisoner eligible for home detention - "and that's without even touching on the manifestly inadequate stretch of eight months".

"I mean we manage to lock up various at-risk types, such as paedophiles who stand to be bashed, by putting them in protective custody.

"I'm sure the Corrections system could find suitable accommodation for McDonald.

"And it should have to, because if the justice system is seriously going to get the message across that methamphetamine and P use and dealing won't be condoned, then it has to make the sentences credible.

"Eight months, with the potential for this 'get out of jail free' card, just isn't credible.

Mr Alexander asked if a Mangere drug dealer "without a high profile or a flashy lawyer" would have got the same sentence as McDonald.


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