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Weak Sentencing Encourages More of the Same Old Same Old

Weak Sentencing Encourages More of the Same Old Same Old

23rd November 2017

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is shocked that twenty-three-year-old Hamilton women Tiffani Jade Sutcliffe, has only received a prison term of three years and one month for the shooting and killing of Rhys Williamson while on a drug and alcohol binge.

“We repeatedly ask the question, are the weak short-term jail sentences handed out for some of the most serious crimes, contributing to our escalating criminal behaviour and ballooning prison population.” Scott Guthrie Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) Child Abuse spokesman.

“What normal human being thinks bingeing on alcohol, drugs and participating in group sex, and then shooting someone is an accident?” said Guthrie.

“When interviewed by police, Sutcliffe laid the blame at the door of the police, stating the victim had only died because police took so long getting to the scene.”

“This was not a case where someone was accidently shot and died as a consequence. This was a situation where the offender knew exactly what she was doing; she had been mixing illegal drugs and alcohol all day long and then picked up a loaded firearm and took an innocent life.”

“Sutcliffe cannot claim that she was unaware of the dangers of consuming drugs and alcohol. She cannot claim that she was unaware of the danger of picking up a firearm, pointing it at someone and pulling the trigger. And what does Justice Whata give this offender? A slap with a wet bus ticket.”

“Sutcliffe was sentenced to three years and one month for taking an innocent life but as seems to now be the normal with New Zealand’s weak justice system, there was no minimum non-parole period imposed, meaning she will be eligible for parole after serving just one-third of her sentence.” Guthrie

Guthrie believes Justice Whata must know how wrong and weak this sentence is and once more the question needs to be asked, are these pathetic sentences contributing to New Zealand’s escalating criminal behaviour and ballooning prison population?

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is again calling on the Minister of Justice to review how our judicial system works and to hold judges accountable for their decisions, just the same as every other working Kiwi is accountable in their work place. ENDS



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