Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Labour weakness on bail law a dangerous back-flip - McVicar

Labour weakness on bail law a dangerous back-flip - McVicar

17th September 2017

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is deeply concerned at statements made by Labour Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis on Three's The Nation programme today that they may 'review' the Bail Amendment Act 2013.

SST founder Garth McVicar said: "The changes to bail brought in by the Bail Amendment Act 2013 simply 'reset' the bail law to a standard the public expect - and that should have already been in place. For many years, the New Zealand public had repeatedly expressed their outrage and deep concern at the extent of crime committed by offenders on bail. The fact the remand population has increased so significantly reflects just how lax the law used to be. We now have a new normal, and that is a good thing.”

"Between 2006 and 2010, 23 people were murdered by an offender out on bail. A further 21 were killed in a 'homicide-related' offence in that period. The 2012 murder of North Shore teenager Christie Marceau, by a man out on bail charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting her, was the final straw in public consciousness. It was a case that embodied much of what was wrong with the system." continued McVicar.

A petition to Parliament entitled "Christie's Law" was signed by about 58,000 people - ordinary New Zealanders - calling for Parliament to tighten the lax bail criteria that had been operating for many years. The public had had enough of offender-friendly bail laws that had played their part in countless and avoidable murders and other serious crimes committed by offenders on bail - most of whom were facing serious charges or with multiple prior convictions for violence or sexual offending. Submissions to the select committee were strongly in favour of tightening bail laws.

"Finally parliament listened to public concern - to their great credit. The Bail Amendment Act 2013 had broad Parliamentary support. It was not divisive. Labour, National, NZ First, ACT and United Future all supported the changes - at all stages of the Bill. Members from both major parties spoke eloquently at all stages of the Bill in support, acknowledging the need to tighten up in this crucial area of our justice system."

"The public deserves better than to have a major party back-flip barely four years after it was passed. The fact that the prison and remand population has now exceeded 10,000 is largely a reflection of the bail, sentencing and parole standards the public reasonably expect. Labour are treading down a dangerous path if they pursue a loosening of the bail law. Frankly, they will end up with blood on their hands if they pursue this path. Public safety doesn't come cheap, and the public are more than willing to pay the price to keep dangerous and recidivist offenders in prison awaiting trial" said McVicar.

“Figures SST has obtained from Corrections shows that remand prisoners have on average 44 prior convictions - an extraordinary record of offending. So Judges are not lightly remanding accused persons with unblemished records. Those denied bail are hard core recidivists or those facing very serious charges.”

"The way to reduce the prison population without compromising public safety is to prevent offending, not reduce imprisonment. Any idiot can let 30% of the prison population out to save money. That's not smart on crime. That's reckless and stupid on crime. There are no silver bullets to reducing offending." continued McVicar.

"The challenge to all political parties is to redouble their efforts to address the drivers of criminal offending which include drug and alcohol addictions, mental health problems, poor educational achievement, dysfunctional upbringings, and all too often an inflated sense of entitlement on the part of offenders. That's smart on crime. And it is costly. But New Zealanders are willing to pay the price for both strong prison policy and strong rehabilitation policy. It's not an either-either choice." concluded McVicar. ENDS

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


State Highways: $1.4 Billion For Road Safety Improvements

The Safe Network Programme will make 870 kilometres of high volume, high-risk State Highways safer by 2021 with improvements like median and side barriers, rumble strips, and shoulder widening. More>>


Dealing Crackdown, Addiction Support: Government Action On Synthetics

The NZ Drug Foundation has welcomed the Government’s response to synthetic drug deaths. The response strikes a balance between giving law enforcement the tools they need to target criminal networks and changing drug law to make it easier for people to access help when they need it. More>>


Strategy Committee Unanimous: Wellington To Forge Ahead With Convention Centre

The three-storey Cable Street building, with around 18,000-square metres of floor space, will comfortably be able to host 1500 people for conventions. It includes a 1651sq m exhibition area that will attract international exhibitions too big for nearby Te Papa and provide an always-changing visitor attraction. More>>


Surveying The Surveillance: First IGIS Review Of Warrants Under New Act

The report sets out the Inspector-General’s interpretation of the new warrant provisions under the ISA and her expectations of the GCSB and NZSIS when they prepare warrant applications. More>>

SSC: 2018 Public Service Workforce Data Published

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has published the 2018 Our People, Public Service Workforce Data , which shows the Public Service is making significant progress in important areas. More>>


Sinking Cap: Auctions, Permanent Forests, Added To ETS

The move to auctions, signalled in an August consultation paper, will help put a cap on the number of emission units available over time. Annual announcements, looking forward five years, will help provide certainty for scheme participants, she said. More>>


Joint Select Committee Report: Achieving Smokefree 2025

In a historic first for select committees, the Māori Affairs Committee and the Health Committee presented their joint report on achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal to the House on Tuesday, 11 December 2018. More>>

"Shared Interests And Democratic Values": Peters To Visit USA

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington D.C. for talks with US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and other senior members of the US Administration. More>>




InfoPages News Channels