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PC compo bill puts prisoners first

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

15 December 2004

PC compo bill puts prisoners first

National Party Leader Don Brash says prison inmates will still be lining up to collect compensation for things like 'hurt feelings' in spite of the Prisoners' and Victims' Claims Bill being introduced to Parliament tomorrow.

"This solves precisely nothing. Labour is determined to make the victims of crime relive their ordeal while continuing to tolerate compensation along with the legal expense. This is not justice, and in many cases prisoners will still collect the cash!"

Dr Brash is also concerned by a clause that will allow some of our worst rapists and murderers to see, and respond to, any claim by their victims on court-ordered compensation for alleged 'mistreatment'.

"Not only will victims have to revisit some of their worst nightmares by jumping through legal hoops to get their case for compensation heard, their applications will be forwarded to the offender for a response.

"In other words, the man who brutally raped and attacked a woman in her own home will be given access to the victim's personal thoughts with a right to reply.

"This is an outrageous situation. Labour rejected a far tidier solution offered by National - to simply stop the compensation being awarded to prisoners.

"Under Labour's plan, judges will be put in the unenviable position where they will have to decide how the compensation should be split among the victims. They'll be forced into putting a value on pain and suffering.

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"And how will a judge decide which family member is worse affected than the next? Is the suffering of a mother worth more than the suffering of a son or a daughter?"

Dr Brash is also angered by the Government provision that will allow prisoners to keep any compensation if there are no identifiable victims, or insufficient victim claims.

"National will reluctantly support this bill to select committee, where we will push hard to make sure it meets victims' expectations.

"Our support beyond that is not guaranteed. This is a complicated solution to a simple problem.

"Compensation for prisoners for things like 'hurt feelings' should not be tolerated. It should be stopped, blocked, wiped and made retrospective where necessary," says Dr Brash.

ENDS


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