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Support for sentencing amendment welcomed

Justice Spokesperson
13 September 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Support for sentencing amendment welcomed

Labour is pleased that the Government supported its amendments to the Sentencing (Aggravated Factors) Amendment Bill when the legislation was read a third and final time last night, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Charles Chauvel.

Originally, the Bill would have required a judge, sentencing a person convicted of assaulting a police or corrections officer, to treat the assault as an aggravating factor, meaning a tougher sentence. The Government’s justification for this was that it recognises the reality that neither police nor corrections officers have any choice but to put themselves in harm’s way in the course of performing their duties.

“We agreed with this approach, but we felt it ignored other professions where people were put in similar positions, for example firefighters, and ambulance officers.

“Ignoring these professions is unjust,” Charles Chauvel said.

“To remedy this I drafted an amendment to include firefighters and emergency first medical responders. I am pleased that this amendment was supported by most parties in the House, including National, and passed into law last night. This is a better bill as a result.”

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