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Govt Must Act After Martin Parole Decision

Govt Must Act After Martin Parole Decision

Thursday 1 Jul 2004

Stephen Franks - Press Releases - Crime & Justice

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today described the decision to deny Leslie Martin parole as `curious', and said that a few more decisions like that would make it impossible for Justice Minister Phil Goff to pretend any longer that his parole law can work.

"Under the Parole Act, only public safety is relevant. Remorse - or lack of it - has not previously been a factor, because the law doesn't allow the Board to weigh such things against the express instruction to let out anyone who's not a danger," Mr Franks said.

"When the Parole Bill was passed, Mr Goff blocked my amendment to require it to take into account any absence of remorse. If the Parole Board has now decided that danger to the public includes the danger of having its sensibilities affronted, or feeling upset by open disdain for the law, then most other parolees would still be in prison."

"And that wouldn't suit Mr Goff's purpose in 2002 at all. He wants to let them out, and to be able to blame the Parole Board for it."

"Last night Mr Goff's Government, with the help of the Greens, blocked changes supported by all other parties to enable the Parole Board to openly take into account the judge's purposes in sentencing."

"The consolation out of this shambles is that parole will not be around for much longer. It will be abolished next year by an ACT/National government. Criminals thinking of committing crimes between now and the next election should take into account the likelihood they'll have to serve their entire sentences," Mr Franks said.


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