Thursday, 12 April 2018

Will NZ's Three Strikes Law Remain A Mere A Suggestion?

Will The Courts Follow The Law?

New Zealand has a Three Strikes law.  If an offender continues to commit serious crimes he or she will ultimately be sentenced to Life Without Parole.  Our version of the Three Strikes Law is manifestly better than many of similar construction and intent.  Yet it is opposed by the soft-on-crime present government, which believes that a few hugs and kisses, together with job opportunities, will bring a halt to serious criminal offending in New Zealand.  

Things have gradually progressed along the Three Strikes process.  Here is the case of a an offender who is on his "third strike".
Dylyn Davis is a violent thug with a long history of violence, including two “strike” offences. He has now pleaded guilty to his third strike – the brutal murder of a young woman whose only crime was to tell a friend she was frightened of him. He now faces the sentence of Life Without Parole (LWOP) under the three strikes regime. Whether he gets what he richly deserves depends on the intestinal fortitude of the Judge who will sentence him.  [Sensible Sentencing Trust, Scoop]
The Sensible Sentencing Trust [SST] puts its finger on one of the weaknesses of the present NZ Three Strikes Law.
  It has a small loophole which permits judges in rare cases to override the mandatory sentences of a Second and Third Strike if a manifest injustice would occur.  This reasonable concession within the regime has been exploited by a slew of justices so far because they don't like to be seen dishing out retributive punishment.  They far prefer themselves to be seen in their own eyes and (hopefully) the eyes of the public as gracious and merciful.  It better suits their self-image.  It seems to us that these justices are complying neither with the letter nor spirit of the law.
“This is the first case in which an offender’s third strike is murder, and the three strikes law requires this vermin to be sentenced to the ultimate penalty – Life without Parole” said Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar.

“In the six previous cases where murder was the second strike offence the Judges have, in our opinion, all shirked their duty and incorrectly used the “manifestly unjust” escape clause parliament provided for use only in truly exceptional cases, to avoid imposing the proper sentence. Will we see another spineless decision in this case? We certainly hope not” McVicar said.
The actual details of the case are a shocking picture of human depravity.
“In as much as murders can be ‘worse’, this case is surely as bad as it can get. A young woman beaten and choked to death by a violent thug who later bragged about what he had done to his scumbag mates, and described his victim choking to death as she gargled on her own blood. Not only did he show no remorse, but was proud of what he had done.” said McVicar.

“Davis’s previous strikes are for wounding with intent to injure, for which he received a paltry 18 months - which the Sentencing Act automatically reduced to 9 months - and 28 and a half months for an aggravated robbery, which was his second strike. His claim to be remorseful at his first strike hearing was clearly rubbish; the only thing he was sorry for was getting caught. He has now gone on to commit the worst crime in the statute book, and he is surely a perfect candidate for the sternest penalty we have, Life which actually means life in prison to protect the public from him forever. . . . “We hope that Justice Sarah Katz will do her duty and put this scumbag away forever. We were impressed with her sentence of the brutal killers of little Moko Rangitoheriri – a sentence which we were pleasantly surprised to see was not reduced on appeal” said McVicar.

“Parliament has given the Judges the appropriate tool to deal with recidivist violent thugs who have demonstrated no willingness to reform. So far each of the Judges who have had the opportunity in murder cases has refused to make full use of that tool. We are hopeful that Justice Katz will be the first Judge who actually imposes the sentence parliament intended to be imposed on an offender like Davis”

We will see.  Let's hope so.  If Justice Katz does rule strictly in compliance with the law it will be a remarkable decision.  One thing is sure: the present Minister of Justice, Andrew Little will not approve.  His brand of justice has definitely cast him in the role of Great Redeemer when it comes to criminals and crime.  He long ago forgot (if he ever knew) that both Judgement and Redemption belong to the Lord God alone. 

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