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ACT Sets Minimum 13 Years Jail For Home Murders

Thursday 24th Jun 1999
Patricia Schnauer
Media Release -- Justice

ACT has today backed up its call for tougher sentences by gaining the support of Parliament for an amendment that will see criminals who murder someone in their home jailed for at least 13 years before they are eligible for parole.

ACT Justice Spokesman Patricia Schnauer said the Government's Home Invasion Bill did not provide for any extra penalty if a person committed a murder in a home.

"ACT believes that where someone commits a murder in someone's home then that person should receive an additional penalty. This amendment ensures that the minimum non-parole period for murder - when that murder is committed within the context of a "home invasion" - will be increased from the present 10 years to 13 years.

"ACT will continue to campaign for tougher sentences for criminals. ACT believes that it is time we put the rights of law-abiding citizens to be protected above the rights of murderers to be released early. Criminals cannot terrorise people in their own homes if they are in prison. Longer sentences are a preventative measure.

"The Home Invasion Bill signals to the community and to the Courts that penalties for serious crimes committed within the sanctuary of a person's home should receive a harsher penalty. It will also impact on those home invasion cases that are currently before the courts.

"While the Government's Home Invasion Bill is a step in the right direction, the community needs to be reassured that all criminals are sentenced appropriately.

"I am pushing ahead with my own Private Members Bill to establish a Sentencing Commission. The Commission, with responsibilities to develop rules for sentencing, will set out clear guidelines stating what the Courts can and cannot do on sentencing.

"A Sentencing Commission will ensure that the penalties se t down by Parliament are reflected better in Court imposed sentences. It will also bring greater consistency to sentencing, particularly for more serious offences. Most importantly it will de-politicise the sentencing process," said Patricia Schnauer.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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