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Judge Courtney to be commended for Steven Ellis sentence

Judge Courtney to be commended for Steven Ellis sentence

The Sensible Sentencing Trust Wellington branch would like to congratulate Judge Patricia Courtney for the 19 year minimum non-parole sentence handed down to Steven Ellis for the brutal rape and murder of Jacqueline Blackbourn, in June 2010. The sentence is a positive step that sends a strong message to serious criminals that horrific offending of this level will not be tolerated. It assists in steering the criminal justice system back in a direction that will see it working for those who obey the law rather than the criminals who break it.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust continues to advocate for cumulative rather than concurrent sentencing and if concurrent sentencing was used in New Zealand Ellis would have been facing a further 8 years for rape, and 4.5 years for arson. However despite this injustice the length of the sentence handed down for the murder serves to protect other women from the abhorrent predatory offending of Steven Ellis for the next 19 years, and that is to be commended. Tragically it is too late for Jacqueline Blackbourn, who was described in court as ‘vulnerable’, to be afforded this protection. It is the belief of the Sensible Sentencing Trust that the vulnerable in society are in need of even greater protection from our criminal justice system and accordingly the Trust wish to see criminals who offend against them treated without leniency.

The responsibility of the justice system is first and foremost to protect the law-abiding public, and this fact must not be treated as a political football, jeopardising our right to be safe and secure against crime. Well done Judge Courtney for taking a tough stance in this horrendous case and doing your part in restoring the rights of hard-working kiwi’s to be safe from crime within our own communities. Such sentences will put law-abiding citizens and the victims of crime at the forefront of the justice system – which is exactly where they need to be kept.

New Zealand once was, and can be again, one of the safest countries in the world if we have the will and determination to stand up against crime and refuse to accept it as a part of our lives. We all have a right to be safe within our own homes, streets, and communities. We will continue to fight for that right and advocate for a tough stance to be taken against those who would have those rights taken away from us.


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