Home Invasion bill a farce says Labour
The Government's Home Invasion legislation contains such serious anomalies that to pass it in its present form would make our sentencing laws a farce, Labour justice spokesperson Phil Goff said today.
The bill is due to be reported back to Parliament this week. However, Mr Goff says it contains major flaws and needs substantial redrafting before Parliament should consider passing it into law.
"Someone who attacks you on your doorstep rather than inside your home is not covered. The gang member who shot Christopher Crean through his front door in New Plymouth would not have been classified as a home invader.
"However, if you are foolish enough to go into a gang house to attend a party or buy drugs and you are attacked, there will be higher penalties for the offender because you were inside a house. The bill defines a home invasion crime as occurring in any home, not just your own.
"Higher penalties are needed for some attacks which occur outside of the home. Mrs Withers, who inspired a 300,000 plus signature petition to parliament, could not have expected the vicious assault on her to have resulted in a higher penalty, because she was in her son's shop when attacked, not in a home.
"An offender who attacks a dairy owner in the living room behind his or her shop will be covered by the new law, but not if the attack happens in the shop. Armed robberies inside shops have increased rapidly but the bill doesn't apply to them.
"There are dozens of other anomalies. Higher penalties apply when the victim is in a rest home but not in a hospital; if the victim is in a tent or caravan but not in a motel or boarding house; if the victim is in any house but not in their own garage.
"A stranger who rapes a child in the child's house is covered by the bill, but not if the rapist is known to the child and is lawfully on the premises.
"The Government needs to start again with this legislation," Mr Goff said.
"Higher penalties should be set in law for all serious violent offenders, not just when the offence is committed in a house. Attacking a person in the sanctity of his or her own home should be regarded as an aggravating factor but not in the anomalous and inconsistent way this bill provides."