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Saving prison beds comes ahead of safety

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

29 May 2008

Saving prison beds comes ahead of safety

An alleged paedophile seemingly hosting toddlers' birthday parties and a sleepover while on electronic bail facing 12 child sex charges is further evidence that e-bail is a high-risk experiment, says National's Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

"Labour designed electronic bail to save prison beds, but not only is it failing to deliver on that - only eight beds were saved in the scheme's first 10 months - it's allowing people who the public expect to be behind bars, to remain in the community.

"Is it worth saving a prison bed to allow these people to stay in the community?:

* The alleged paedophile, who was facing charges of abduction and rape of a six-year old girl, and has since been charged with breaching electronic bail eight times

* A New Plymouth man accused of holding knives to a woman's throat as he raped her, allegedly stabbing her repeatedly and threatening to kill her infant son while counting down the minutes until he would kill her

"Is it really worth saving two prison beds to allow these people electronic bail?

"I revealed last year the Government's own figures showing that the biggest category on electronic bail are violent offenders, with charges ranging from manslaughter, kidnap, rape, unlawful sexual connection, aggravated robbery, and grievous assault.

"Add to that, Labour's new bail laws, which made it easier for people to get bail, and which allowed a Christchurch man charged with manufacturing 'P' out on bail, who then continued to make the drug while on bail. A judge said 'it was quite ridiculous really that you were granted bail'.

"Labour's policies put the saving of prison beds ahead of public safety, and that is not acceptable."


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