Rodney Hide explains how we were failed by judges

Rodney Hide explains why Andrew Little doesn’t need to repeal ‘three strikes’, because the judges already nobbled it. Quote:

Justice Minister Andrew Little has promised to repeal ?Three Strikes.? He needn’t bother: the Court of Appeal has done it for him.

The purpose of ?Three Strikes? was to provide escalating punishment for repeat violent offenders. Its aim was to send a strong message to violent offenders to stop and, if they couldn?t stop, to lock them up good and long. The hope was to put an end to the piling up of victims as violent offenders cycle through the justice system.

The ACT Party campaigned long and hard on ?Three Strikes.? Our confidence and supply agreement with National in 2008 included introducing our bill to Parliament for a ?fair hearing.? It proved tough to pass. It would not have happened had it not been for ACT?s David Garrett who drafted the legislation, argued for it, proved officials wrong, and convinced the National caucus to vote for it.

It was parliamentary democracy at its best.

The bottom line for National became the ?unless it is manifestly unjust? out-clause.

The ACT caucus agreed to the proviso because the phrase was already in use in s102 (1) of the Sentencing Act. The phrase had been ?judicially defined? and s102 (1) has only been used a handful of times in the hundreds of cases of murder since the Sentencing Act came into force in 2002.

But in 2016 the Court of Appeal usurped Parliament to declare that, for ?Three Strikes,? ?manifestly unjust? means ?not grossly disproportionate.? It?s absurd. Parliament was clear both in the statute and Hansard that ?Three Strikes? is fully intended to be ?disproportionate.? That?s its whole point.

The Court of Appeal bizarrely explained that ?manifestly unjust? has two different meanings: one for s102(1) of the Sentencing Act and one for s86E ( Three Strikes?). Again, that?s despite Parliament being clear that ?manifestly unjust? was to have exactly the same meaning in both sections of the same act.

The ?manifestly unjust? exclusion has been used in every one of the eight murder convictions so far subject to a second or third strike.?End quote.

That is judicial meddling, there is no other description that fits.?Quote:

For example, last week repeat violent offender, and now cold-blooded murderer, 26-year-old Dylyn Davis escaped his ?Third Strike? sentence because the judge following the Court of Appeal ruling deemed life without parole grossly disproportionate and therefore ?manifestly unjust.?

That?s despite Davis explaining he must be jailed for the rest of his life to keep others safe, with ?the death penalty? the only measure that would prevent him reoffending.

For 50 years we have tried every scheme and policy bar one only resolutely to fail to reduce recidivism. The one policy we haven’t tried is to have the punishment fit the crime.

?Three Strikes? was an attempt by our parliamentary democracy to do just that. It’s been thwarted by our judges.

They have not only demolished ?Three Strikes” but have overridden the core constitutional principles of parliamentary sovereignty and separation of powers. They are a disgrace.

Seldom has a law worked so well as Parliament intended and the Court of Appeal just couldn?t allow that. End quote.

And now Andrew Little is to remove it, all because he thinks our prisons are too full.

What will be interesting is to watch NZ First and how they handle this. Their own policies reflect “three strikes” and they want tougher sentencing and now they are going to need to support this catch and release policy of Labour’s.

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