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Law-abiding families not protected

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Labour justice spokesperson Phil Goff has written to the Ministers of Police and Justice demanding an explanation as to why the full force of the law wasn't used to protect the Lawton family of Invercargill from gang terror.

"Tony Ryall has pontificated this week on the sanctity of the home but what has his Government done to help the Lawtons?

"The Mongrel Mob shifted in next door to the Lawton family and firebombed their house. John Lawton stood up to this terrorism, gave evidence in court and the gang leader was convicted.

"But the gang's threats and intimidation have now forced the family to leave their home and their city.

"State and local agencies failed to use their full powers to prevent this travesty of justice," Mr Goff said.

"I have asked the Ministers to explain why the Harassment Act was not used against the gang. Why was the Residential Tenancies Act not used to evict the gang from their rented accommodation? Why was there no co-ordinated action between the police, justice officials, the City Council and the community to enforce zero tolerance of unacceptable gang behaviour?

"I have also asked the Ministers what action they will take to seek reparation from the gang and what compensation might be available for the losses suffered by the Lawtons.

"The state must ensure that it uses its full powers to protect witnesses and citizens against the terrorist activities of gangs. The Lawton case shows that National has clearly failed in its duty," Mr Goff said.

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