Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Withdrawal Of Funding For Sentencing Reports Raises Concerns For New Zealand Bar Association

The Government’s announcement that it intends to withdraw funding for sentencing reports, currently available under 27 of the Sentencing Act 2002, raises concerns for lawyers.

There are significant risks that it will make it harder for judges to impose appropriate sentences, undermine rehabilitation and adversely impact reoffending rates. These are not the outcomes that the government, the legal profession, or the public want, says Maria Dew KC, President of the New Zealand Bar Association | Ngā Ahorangi Motuhake o te Ture.

Rachael Reed KC, Co-Chair of the Bar Association Criminal Committee, says Section 27 reports allow the judge to consider the appropriate sentence, chances of successful rehabilitation and what support is available to achieve this. Currently, offenders who qualify for legal aid can apply for funding for the preparation of a report. The government has announced that it is introducing legislation to prevent legal aid from being used to pay for these reports. While the government has indicated that the offender will still be able to call on a person to speak to the Court about their background, the reality will be that access to important information will not be as readily available and risks disadvantaging those who cannot afford to pay. The current situation, of funding s27 sentencing reports where appropriate, helps ensure equal access to appropriate sentencing information for the Court.

The Bar Association invites the government to consider the evidence about the impact of s27 sentencing reports since their use, to determine whether the cost / benefit justifies their continuation, when assessed against reoffending rates and rehabilitation gains made.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Newshub/Smokefree Twin Fiascos

Here’s a tale of two sunset industries. One has a track record of quality investigative reporting, and sound reportage of the 24/7 news cycle. The other sunset industry peddles a deadly substance that kills and injures tens of thousands of New Zealanders every year, while imposing significant annual costs on the public health system.

Which industry is this government rushing to assist..?


ACT: New Zealand Dodges Dopey Experiment In Prohibition

“Labour’s attempted crackdown on smokers would have delivered criminal groups a near-monopoly over the cigarette trade,” says ACT Health spokesman Todd Stephenson... More

Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More

Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.