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Parole, Not Bail, The Main Issue

Parole, Not Bail, The Main Issue

Public outrage at the soft criminal justice system that allowed Steven Williams freedom to murder Coral Burrows, is completely justified - but parole, not bail, should be the target, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Talkback hosts and crusading journalists should demand that Justice Minister Phil Goff release the information on parole he has hidden since he took office," Mr Franks said.

"We should know exactly how much of all of Williams' sentences he has actually served. Even ignoring the scandal of concurrent sentencing, it is highly likely he will have served only a tiny fraction of the time people would reasonably expect for his 89 crimes.

"Police and victims naturally focus on bail, because they know about bail. In response to repeated questioning about the times that many earlier serious offenders have spent out on parole, the Corrections and Justice Ministers have always told me the privacy interests of the offenders outweigh the public and victims' right to know.

"Criminals allowed out early on parole are murdering, robbing and raping every week. No one can commit a crime, or hurt an innocent, if they're in jail. The sentences given by the judge should be served in full.

"Until such truth in sentencing is restored, we must know the facts. We have a right to know exactly how often parole sets vicious criminals free to strike again. We would also see why we have such a high crime rate. The message to criminals from parole is that the Government doesn't believe in punishment, why should criminals?" Mr Franks said.

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