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‘King Hit’ Sentences Far Too Light

Rt Hon Winston Peters

New Zealand First Leader

Member of Parliament for Northland
14 OCTOBER 2016

‘King Hit’ Sentences Far Too Light

Perpetrators of “King hits” should be sentenced to a minimum of eight years if their victims are killed, says New Zealand First.

“We want to send a message. Land one of these cowardly punches, take a life, and you’re behind bars a long time,” New Zealand First Leader and MP for Northland Rt Hon Winston Peters said in a speech to the Police Association in Wellington today.

“There have been too many cases of innocent people dying from a ‘King hit’. Good people have been killed. Families and friends are suffering.

“What has happened to this country when a man walks into a dairy and is killed by a punch? That’s what happened to Matthew Coley in Invercargill – his 16-year-old killer got 22 months jail, but only served 11 months on remand.

“Why can’t a man wait for a burger, without fear of attack? That’s what Steve Radnoty was doing when he was killed in Dunedin – his killer got three years, but was eligible for parole after only 12 months.

“Bay of Plenty school principal Hawea Vercoe was killed by a 21 year old in Whakatane – his sentence was four and a half years with parole after just 18 months.

“That’s too soft. That’s not a fair and just society.

“Many serve very little time in prison – they walk out of jail on parole after a short stint. It’s not good enough. Families are appalled.

“There is something very wrong and out of balance if, in a small country like this, we can’t walk safely on our streets, no matter the time of day or night.

“The ‘King hit’ punch will be defined in law as ‘an event that is unexpected and unprovoked but of such force to the head that it is likely to cause incapacitation, injury or death’.

“New Zealand First will ensure the length of the sentence will send a message that society will not accept this level of violence,” says Mr Peters.

ENDS


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