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Stronger message needed for child-hurters

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

11 November 2005

Stronger message needed for child-hurters

National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power, says he is concerned that Parliament is not sending a strong enough message to people who ill-treat children and he intends to explore ways of changing sentencing legislation.

He is commenting after Harley Mac Wharewera was sentenced in Whakatane District Court to 10 years for grievous bodily harm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on a two-year-old boy, and four years for wilful ill-treatment of a child. The sentences were to be served concurrently.

“I am concerned that he is not being seen to be serving any time for the ill-treatment of this boy. That has been wrapped into the sentence for grievous bodily harm.

“All the public sees is the sentence for GBH, with the charge of ill-treatment of a child buried in the concurrent sentence. People who hurt children must be seen to be serving extra time for that.

“National has made it very clear that there should not be parole for violent or repeat offenders, and similarly it is my view that those who harm our most vulnerable should not get parole.

“We must send a very, very strong message to these people that if you hurt children, you will pay dearly for it.

“Employment legislation has provisions to protect vulnerable people, and so should sentencing legislation.

“I intend going to the National Party caucus to get support for a change to sentencing laws so that ill-treatment of a child becomes an offence which cannot be served concurrently with any other sentence,” Mr Power says.

ENDS

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