The Herald reports that the Attorney-General has advised that the “three strikes” bill breaches the Bill of Rights. That will be one of the factors National will grapple with in deciding whether to support it beyond select committee.
I’m not sure on this, but wouldn’t the AG have given his advice at the time of introduction or first reading? I’m wondering why it has just now been reported. Mind you, the advice is not yet available on the Ministry of Justice site.
As Attorney-General, Mr Finlayson is required to report any bill that appears inconsistent with the Bill of Rights.
His concerns relate to the inconsistencies it would lead to, such as “the imposition of a life sentence for offences that would otherwise be subject to a penalty of as little as five years”.
This is of course deliberate. The intent of the three strikes law is basically a value judgement that if you have committed a third crime that is so bad, it results in a sentence of at least five years, then you are judged likely to carry on offending indefinitely. The third strike is designed not so much to punish, but to protect the public.
The select committee hearings will be vigorous I am sure.
UPDATE: I’ve been informed that the Attorney-General’s advice was tabled when the bill was introduced – so this story is now some new info. Also the advice may not yet be on the MOJ website, but it is on the Parliament site.