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Govt Introduces No Parole For Worst Offenders

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Simon Power
Simon Power

18 FEB 2009 - Legislation removing parole eligibility for the worst repeat violent offenders and those convicted of the worst murders was introduced to Parliament today by Justice Minister Simon Power.

"New Zealanders have the right to live without fear or threat of harm from murderers and other violent offenders," he said.

Under the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill, offenders sentenced to five years or more for a violent or sex offence will not be eligible for parole if they have previously received a sentence of five years or more for this type of offending. If they are convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, they will serve the sentence in full and will not be eligible for parole.

"This bill accommodates the parole policies of both the National and ACT parties, and fulfills the National Government's confidence and supply agreement with the ACT party in this regard," Mr Power said.

"In accordance with that agreement, offenders who re-offend for a third time and who would otherwise receive a sentence of imprisonment of at least five years will automatically receive a sentence of life imprisonment with 25 years non-parole.

"These offenders have shown contempt for the safety of others by committing serious acts of violence, being released, and then offending again."

Under existing legislation, when an offender is sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, the court must impose a minimum term of at least 10 years. The Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill will also give courts the option of sentencing the worst murderers to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole - if no minimum term would be sufficient to mark the seriousness of the case.

"We expect these cases to be rare, but, in the worst cases, the families of the victims - and the public - have a right to know that the offender will not be released on parole," Mr Power said.

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