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Clayton’s Version Of Restorative Justice Introduce

Party Leader Graham Capill described today’s announcement of the introduction of Restorative Justice as “a first step in the right direction, but totally inadequate”.

Mr Capill said, “Limiting the scheme to those who plead guilty, misses the point of introducing Restorative Justice in the first place – forcing offenders to take responsibility for the pain they have inflicted.

“Chances are that those who have pleaded guilty have already faced up to their harmful actions. The danger is that the new system may well just become a ‘soft’ sentencing option for those willing to admit guilt.

“True Restorative Justice aims to place the victim at the centre of the legal system. That means that all offenders need to hear and see the result of their actions, not just those willing to admit guilt. Restricting it to those who plead guilty means the new system is only a Clayton’s reform which targets the wrong offenders.

“Sentencing must not become a subjective exercise in a negotiated settlement between an offender and the victim. Each crime must have a punishment that fits it. Otherwise the sentence will depend on the mercy or generosity of the victim in question. Such relativism in sentencing would be unjust.

“The referendum held last year asked for a total reform of our justice system, to include a central role for victims. Today’s announcement does not go anywhere near what that referendum demands,” Mr Capill concluded.

The Christian Heritage Party wants to introduce a Victim Restoration programme. That differs from Restorative Justice in that its total focus is on restoring victims. The restoration of offenders is very much a secondary consideration.

Contact: Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766

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