25 May, 2010
Three Strikes Bill passed by Parliament
The Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill, which was today passed by Parliament, will ensure the worst repeat violent criminals have less chance to reoffend, Police Minister Judith Collins said.
The Bill upholds the Government's election pledge to remove eligibility for parole for the worst repeat violent offenders and incorporates significant aspects of ACT's Three Strikes policy.
The Bill denies parole to repeat serious violent offenders and to offenders who are guilty of committing the worst murders. It also imposes maximum terms of imprisonment on persistent repeat offenders who continue to commit serious violent offences.
"With this Bill the Government is sending a strong message that we are serious when we say that parole is a privilege, not a right. Parole is a privilege that will not be available to those who fail to take heed of warnings and continue to commit serious violent crimes," Ms Collins said.
"This Bill ensures that the rights of victims and their families are put before the rights of those offenders who choose to continue to offend."
Ms Collins acknowledged the ACT Party for its continued commitment to the Bill.
The new regime will apply to 40 serious violent offences which are punishable by a maximum of seven years' imprisonment or more. It will apply to people over 18 and will not be retrospective.
Safeguards have been put in place to ensure that the appropriate charges are laid, particularly at the third stage of the regime.
At stage 3 Police will refer all charges that qualify for the mandatory maximum penalty to the Crown Solicitor for review either pre-charge or by second appearance.
In addition, all cases involving offenders on a final warning, who are subsequently charged with committing a serious violent offence, will have their cases heard in the High Court. Only the High Court, the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court will be able to sentence an offender for a stage 3 offence.