In October last year the Sensible Sentencing Trust congratulated Simon Power and the National led government for their proposed tightening of access to bail in The Bail Amendment Bill. The Bill was put forward to see restrictions placed on access to bail for those charged with serious crimes such as murder and the onus placed on the arrested suspect to prove they are not a risk to the community before being granted bail.
Tragically, within weeks, 18 year old Christie Marceau was killed. Her alleged murderer, 18 year old Akshay Anand Chand had been released on bail to his mother’s address which was within 1km of Christie’s family home. This was despite strenuous police opposition to bail and that fact that he had previously been charged with kidnapping her earlier in the year.
When announcing the changes Simon Power stated that “These changes will improve public confidence in the bail system and ensure that bail will be harder to get in marginal cases where the court would previously have had no choice but to release a defendant on bail." Sadly, the proposed changes did not come soon enough and Christie became yet another innocent murder victim. At the same time the lives of those close to Christie were irreparably damaged. If ever we needed a reminder that these changes are of paramount importance it has been the tragic murder of Christie Marceau.
To highlight the urgent need for change in this area of the law and to show that you support the right of law-abiding citizens to be safe from violent offenders please come along at 12pm on Monday (27th) and meet outside the High Court at Waterloo Quadrant. Come and support the Marceau family and send a strong message to our law-makers that we need urgent change in this area of our law. Please do not be apathetic and think that you can’t make a difference – believe me you can. In the words of Dr. Jim Boren “Public apathy is more powerful than public opinion. There's more of it.”
Every crime committed whilst a suspect is released on bail is one too many, and preventable. Bail needs to be regarded as a privilege, not a right. Join with us on Monday to show that you support this view as well.
New Zealand once was, and can be again, one of the safest countries in the world if we have the will and determination to stand up against crime and refuse to accept it as a part of our lives. We all have a right to be safe within our own homes, streets, and communities. We will continue to fight for that right and advocate for a tough stance to be taken against those who would have those rights taken away from us.