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Public protected by tough Third Strike sentence

Wellington man Daniel Fitzgerald was today sentenced to 7 years imprisonment - the maximum term available for an indecent assault he committed while subject to an Extended Supervision Order. He received the maximum term of imprisonment under the Three Strikes law, because he has now committed two prior 'strike' offences on separate occasions.

He will be eligible to apply for parole after serving a third of his sentence. Whether Mr Fitzgerald serves the full 7 year maximum term will ultimately be up to him. If he can prove to the Parole Board that he has rehabilitated and can control himself, he may be released early.

Sensible Sentencing Trust Founder, Garth McVicar, today said: “We understand Mr Fitzgerald has dozens of convictions. He is a prolific offender, and has left dozens of victims in his wake of almost 30 years of repeated, often sexual, criminal offending.

“Sensible Sentencing is delighted Three Strikes continues to work as intended, and the New Zealand public are protected from repeat serious violent and sexual offenders by lengthy terms of imprisonment” continued McVicar.

“However, SST is disappointed at the ongoing failure of the mental health system to prevent Mr Fitzgerald’s repeated sexual offending and created victims that could have been avoided."

"While his sexual offending is not of the worst kind possible, it is still serious offending and very distressing for his many victims. The New Zealand public deserve protection from him. But if he is unwilling, or more likely unable, to control himself then prison is where he must be for the protection of the community.”

In some ways, this is a sad case, but shows once again that Three Strikes targets our most serious repeat offenders and intervenes when other agencies or systems fail. Mr Fitzgerald does not meet the very high bar to qualify for Preventive Detention. As a result, Three Strikes steps in to impose mandatory maximum terms of imprisonment for those sexual and violent offenders who are unwilling or unable to stop serious offending.

If authorities are unwilling or unable to contain Mr Fitzgerald in a secure mental health facility, then prison is the only option to protect innocent people from his predatory ways. ENDS

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