Petition of Tracey Marceau on behalf of Christie’s Law Group
5 December 2013
Law and Order Select Committee
Petition of Tracey Marceau on behalf of Christie’s Law Group and 58,000 others
Parliament’s Law and Order Select Committee has signalled its support for the ‘Christie’s Law’ petition and recommends further changes be made to strengthen the justice system.
‘Christie’s Law’ petitioners were seeking tighter bail laws after the murder two years ago of North Shore teenager Christie Marceau at the hands of 19-year-old Akshay Chand, who was on bail at the time.
Select committee chair and Waitaki MP, Jacqui Dean, said the circumstances leading to the petition’s presentation had been a tragic occurrence which had forever changed Christie’s family.
Under the law at that time of the crime the onus had been on the Crown to show why defendants should not be bailed however the 2011 petition presented to Parliament sought changes to the law.
Earlier this year the Bail Amendment Act 2013 provided for some welcome changes, however it did not cover all those sought by ‘Christie’s Law’ 58,000 petitioners including provision for judicial accountability and for police prosecutors to appear in the High Court as well as district courts to speak to bail decisions.
Mrs Dean said the Select Committee were fully aware of how important the petition was in providing some sort of justice for the petitioners.
“We looked at the issue from all angles, listened to many people and organisations, and considered that the points raised did have merit. Our three recommendations include consideration now be given to the judiciary reviewing bail decisions where bail has been granted and the offender has subsequently committed a further serious crime.
“We have further recommended to Parliament that police prosecutors be allowed to advance opposition to High Court bail appeals and for continuity of judicial personnel in subsequent bail hearings following the original case.
“While Christie lost her life and we acknowledge the terrible on-going tragedy for her family, we’re hopeful our recommendations may go some way to preventing this kind of tragedy from recurring,” Mrs Dean said.
A copy of the committee’s report to the House can be found at www.parliament.govt.nz.