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Inquest into the death of Christie Marceau is a whitewash

The Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) strongly believes that the inquest into the death of Christie Marceau which had at its focus a questionable decision on bail, should have had terms of reference which allowed for the judges’ decision to be subject to criticism.

“Instead, the inquest essentially blamed multiple systemic failures and neatly avoided an actual person being wholly or even partly to blame for the decision to grant bail” say Sensible Sentencing Trust victim advocates Leigh Woodman, Jayne Walker and Jock Jamieson.

Jock commented “I believe Judge McNaughton failed to take account of the strong opposition to bail from the police and the parents of Christie. In addition, Christie Marceau’s own letter to the judge expressing her fears should have raised a massive red flag”.

Natural justice demands real answers. The parents of Christie Marceau don’t want to hear excuses or tales of inefficiency by the justice sector when it is clear to ordinary New Zealanders that but for McNaughton’s decision, Christie Marceau would be alive today.

Public safety must be paramount and yet Andrew Little is looking to revisit the Bail Act, because of the high prison muster. Leigh said “how can we have confidence in the system, and that the recommendations made by the Coroner will be implemented, when it seems the Minister is more concerned about the number of accused/offenders being held on remand, hence higher numbers of offenders creating the high prison muster, rather than seeing the muster is high because criminals are out there committing crimes”. We just can’t see this aligning with public safety, let alone solving the systemic breakdowns between the various Justice departments, as commented on by the Coroner in the report.

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Jayne believes that the changes that the Coroner has recommended will clog up the already snail pace legal system and said “How will this target youth offenders? By adding more of what is already in place? More restorative justice, Family Group Conferences (FGC’s), more social worker involvement, more Ministry for Children involvement and so on. All this adds up to more delays. Reducing the prison population how? More people on Parole/Bail? More home detention? Less convictions only means less recorded crime”.

Sensible Sentencing believes the inquest into the death of Christie Marceau is a whitewash. Justice has not been done.ENDS

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