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Three Strikes Would Have Saved Him

Posted on 19 Aug 2009

The number of killers that ACT's 'Three Strikes' law would have prevented from killing has now risen to 80 following Guy Nicholas Wilson's conviction for the 2006 murder of Noi Kai Chong Boon, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman David Garrett said today.

"The sad and undeniable reality is that Wilson's victim would be alive today had ACT's 'Three Strikes' law been in place in 2006 when Mr Boon was murdered in his own home while his girlfriend and child hid upstairs, fearing for their lives," Mr Garrett said.

"Wilson has 'a significant criminal history' with 104 previous convictions – including kidnapping, robbery, and rape. Although the Privacy Act prevents the public from knowing his exact criminal history, its severity is indicated by his sentence of preventive detention with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years for the murder.

"Wilson was given, not three but, 104 'second' chances – with even his own lawyer conceding that his client had considerably more than three convictions for what would be 'Strike' offences under ACT's proposed law.
"It is clear that had ACT's 'Three Strikes' been the law in 2006 Mr Boon would be alive today – because his killer would have been locked up at the time of the killing.

"This sad case - and the 79 cases of murder victims that preceded it – are all the evidence needed to rebut claims that 'Three Strikes' is unnecessary or would not work. Anyone who makes such claims should front up and explain themselves to Mr Boon's loved ones," Mr Garrett said.


Public Support Adds Pressure For Original 'Three Strikes'

Posted on 26 Jul 2009

ACT New Zealand Law & Order Spokesman David Garrett today released new information showing that an overwhelming 75 percent of New Zealanders support ACT's 'Three Strikes' policy and 73 percent of New Zealanders advocate National adopting it as official Government policy.

"The results of this independent public survey show very clearly that New Zealanders have had enough of, and want real action on, serious violent crime, Mr Garrett said.

"There are currently two forms of the 'Three Strikes' policy: ACT's policy – under which any violent offender found guilty of committing a serious violent crime for the third time will automatically receive a mandatory non parole jail sentence of 25 years – and National's ineffective version, which requires the imposition of a five-year sentence before a conviction for a specific offence can count as a strike.

"National has only agreed to support 'Three Strikes' to Select Committee with the added condition of the five-year minimum term of imprisonment which will result in very few - if any - violent offenders being affected by 'Three Strikes'.

"The survey results are entirely consistent with most of the submissions to the Select Committee – the vast majority are in favour of 'Three Strikes' and recognise that to be effective, the additional requirement of a five-year sentence MUST be deleted.

"The 77 victims ACT campaigned on have now increased to 79 – the most recent victim a Samoan choirboy killed by a gang member with 48 previous convictions.

"The people have spoken, and 75 percent of New Zealanders cannot be ignored. New Zealanders know that 'Three Strikes', once fully in effect, will save lives. It is now time for the Government to take action," Mr Garrett said.

To view survey results click here.


Police Need To Front Up To Gun Owners

Posted on 22 Jul 2009

Recent moves by police to reclassify thumb - holes on rifle stocks as 'free - standing pistol grips' will have expensive and far - reaching consequences for gun owners, ACT New Zealand Law & Order Spokesman David Garrett said today.

"By introducing a wholesale change to the regulation, large numbers of legitimate gun owners will be left having to either re - licence and invest heavily in even more robust security, or selling their weapons on a devalued market," Mr Garrett said.

"These guns have been bought and sold legally over the years under the current rules. Given the expensive consequences police must proactively front up and explain why these changes have been implemented, what they hope to achieve, and what alternatives were considered and discarded.

"Police must also explain whether they have considered the impact of this law in driving even more weapons underground into the illegal gun market. The issue of illegal gun ownership warrants serious consideration and the question must be asked: will this move make things better or worse?

"Homicide, suicide and non - intentional death by firearms have reduced steadily over several decades. Why are police moving now to impose extra costs on legitimate gun owners - especially as only around one percent of violent crime involves a firearm and, in the vast majority of cases, those are illegally obtained?

"Looking forward, the police’s proposed information campaign is a good idea. The sooner they front up and inform legitimate gun owners with substantial and sensible answers to these questions, the better," Mr Garrett said.


Prosecution A Step In The Right Direction

Posted on 18 Jun 2009

ACT New Zealand Law & Order Spokesman David Garrett today welcomed news that a private prosecution has been laid against Police Commissioner Howard Broad, Department of Corrections Chief Barry Matthews and others over Graeme Burton's rampage in 2007.

"This is a major step forward in holding those responsible accountable for public safety," Mr Garrett said.

"While the litany of disasters that preceded Burton's murder of Karl Kuchenbecker and his injuring two others is relatively well known, no one has ever been held accountable - all the major players in the Police, Corrections and the Probation Service at the time are still in their jobs.

"This is despite a damning report by the Auditor-General on quite separate failings within the Probation Service released in February 2008.

"This move - an attempt to hold these individuals responsible for bungling Burton's management under the Health and Safety in Employment Act - is unprecedented, and demonstrates frustration over the continued incompetence that plagues the management of parolees.

"Several months ago State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie told Parliament's Law & Order Select Committee that Corrections Head Barry Matthews was ultimately accountable for failures on the part of those reporting to him. Probation Service head Katrina Casey was accountable for failings by staff in her division of the department. Despite that admission, both remain in their jobs while a culture of corruption and failure continue within their department.

"While this private prosecution may ultimately fail on legal grounds, it will at least go some way toward exposing in more depth what occurred following Burton's release - and maybe, just maybe, it will encourage the department to be more careful next time," Mr Garrett said.


How Long Until Something Is Done?

Posted on 05 Jun 2009

The arrest of prison officers forming part of a cannabis supply operation with inmates is the latest debacle in a clearly dysfunctional Department of Corrections, ACT New Zealand Law & Order Spokesman David Garrett said today.

"This incident follows hot on the heels of a damning report from the Auditor-General in February outlining Corrections' inadequate management of parolees." Mr Garrett said.

"State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie told the Law and Order Select Committee three months ago, after his so-called inquiry into where the responsibility for the parolee mis-management debacle lay, that Corrections Head Barry Matthews was ultimately accountable for the failures of his department.

"Although questioning him was like drawing teeth, Mr Rennie eventually agreed under questioning that Ms Katrina Casey was responsible for the management of prisoners and parolees. Ms Casey has been in her position prior to the death of Liam Ashley in the back of a prison van in August 2006. In short, every piece of serious mismanagement in recent times has occurred on her watch.

"Despite the State Services Commissioner's admissions, neither Mr Matthews or Ms Casey were sacked following the Auditor-General's report. Now we have another scandal, this time featuring criminality and corruption.

"If Corrections were a private business, both Casey and Matthews would have been fired for poor performance long ago.

"How many more disgraceful examples of mismanagement - and worse - does there have to be before both these hapless individuals are fired? If Mr Matthews is not now terminated, I will be asking the Law and Order Select Committee to call Mr Rennie before the Committee to explain why, and to ask him how many more debacles he will accept before he ends Mr Matthews' career," Mr Garrett said.


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