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Sensible Sentencing Trust applauds New Zealand First Bill

Sensible Sentencing Trust applauds New Zealand First Bill

30th May 2018

The Sensible Sentencing Trust fully supports New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball’s private members Bill which would provide for a mandatory jail sentence of six months for assaults on “first responders” such as ambulance officers, paramedics and prison officers.


“There are far too many assaults on people in the helping professions, and ambulance officers attending a call out, often late at night, are particularly vulnerable to attacks from drunks and others” said Sensible Sentencing founder Garth McVicar today.

“In our offender friendly justice system, such offenders frequently get no jail time, just a fine they never pay. If anything, Mr Ball’s Bill is too lenient. Thanks to the Sentencing Act, the six month sentence the Bill proposes is automatically cut in half to three months. We would fully support a one year sentence for attacks on first responders, which would automatically become a six month sentence” McVicar said.

“We agree with Mr Ball that prison officers also deserve recognition for the difficult and often dangerous job they do, managing some of the worst scumbags in our society. They are frequently assaulted in the course of their work, and sometimes killed. Because the so called ‘human rights’ of the prisoners are given greater recognition than we believe they should be, prison officers often face disciplinary action for situations they are forced into by inmates who know how to game the system” said McVicar.

“Assaults on police quite rightly attract a different category of sentence from ‘ordinary assaults’; their job is one of the most dangerous there is, going into unknown situations where violence may erupt with little or no warning every day. We see no reason why assaults on prison officers should not similarly be regarded as more serious.”

“We applaud Mr Ball for this initiative, which will have widespread public support. It will be interesting indeed to see if New Zealand First’s colleagues in the Labour Party put protection of the vulnerable before their ideological commitment to going soft on crime and lend their support to Mr Ball’s Bill. We certainly hope they will.”


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