Three Strikes is not 25 years

March 12th, 2011 at 10:09 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

The three-strikes legislation and stripping prisoners of the right to vote breach human rights and could result in New Zealand being hauled before international agencies, a watchdog says. …

The three-strikes law means a 25-year non-parole sentence for the worst criminals after their third serious offence.

No it doesn’t. It means the maximum sentence for the offence without parole. This may be as little as seven years.

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44 Responses to “Three Strikes is not 25 years”

  1. big bruv (13,279 comments) says:

    Yes, god forbid that the William Bell’s and Graham Burton’s of this world do not have their human rights observed.

    Fuck the ‘international agencies’, it is time we told them to bugger off.

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  2. peterwn (3,157 comments) says:

    I would have thought there were higher priority things for the international agencies to be concerned with:
    - state sanctioned murders in Libya
    - mariners deprived of human rights by Somali pirates
    - death penalty in China, USA, Japan, etc
    - stoning of women in Islamic nations (especially those whose only crime was being raped)
    - whippings in Singapore, Malaysia and Islamic countries
    - female circumcision
    - USA operating a justice and corrections system outside the scope of its constitution and legal processes
    - Joe Arpaio’s corrections system
    - etc etc

    But no, they go and pick on NZ. IMO it is high time that John Key and Murray McCully tell some of these international ‘agencies’ where to stick it.

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  3. Longknives (4,454 comments) says:

    What Big Bruv said.

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  4. BlairM (2,286 comments) says:

    This is just a ridiculous story. What international agencies? NZ sentencing is ridiculously light as it is. De Bres should come to Texas, where sentences of 40 years for child abuse are frequent, and as far as I know, the Governor has never been hauled before anybody except the voters. Because that’s how sovereign States work.

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  5. KH (687 comments) says:

    Joris de Bres, as race relations commissioner hands himself a ticket to comment to the international agencies because ’3 strikes’ will ‘disproportionately affect Maori”
    What’s his solution then. Perhaps three strikes for some and four strikes for Maori. Or would that be racist ? Joris might like to think about it.
    Of course the law is ‘discriminatory’. It’s discriminatory against those who decide to continue offending.
    If the net catches more maori, then it seems to me it’s maori who are in the best position to do something about it.

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  6. Doug (405 comments) says:

    What is it with Left thinking people; Whale has harpooned another Left leaning outfit.
    http://whaleoil.gotcha.co.nz/?p=21688

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  7. Graeme Edgeler (3,267 comments) says:

    The three-strikes law means a 25-year non-parole sentence for the worst criminals after their third serious offence.

    If your third strike is an indecent assault, are you really one of the “worst criminals [with three] serious offences?

    But that’s as close as I can get to this making sense…

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  8. Nookin (3,034 comments) says:

    “Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres is concerned about the legislation, which was introduced last year. It would disproportionately affect Maori, he said. ”
    The legislation is race and gender neutral. His argument makes about as much sense as the argument that harsh drink-driving laws unfairly discriminate against young people because young people appear get pissed and get into cars more than older drivers.
    This approach seems to suggest that there should be a sentencing regime designed to hide disproportionate offending according to race. The consequences of violent offending should be the same regardless of race. If that means that a disproportional number of people of a particular race appear before the courts and are imprisoned then so be it.
    Rather than bitch about these figures, perhaps the race relations conciliator should have a look at the reasons why there is so much violent offending. Unfortunately, as soon as somebody suggests that Maori or Pacific Islanders appear more prone to kill their kids or commit crime, they are bludgeoned into silence by the race card.
    “We have to very careful in the area of criminal justice because there is an unequal representation in terms of the people arrested, convicted and imprisoned,” Mr de Bres said.”

    Is he saying that police will investigate offences by Maori with more diligence and effectiveness than offences by non-Maori? He seems to be saying that the arrest/imprisonment rate for Maori is (to use a hypothetical figure), 70% and for non-Maori, say 50% and in order to even things up more Maori should be let off or more pakeha arrested. To use a technical term, this is unmitigated crap. We do not have to be more careful about unequal representation in terms of people arrested if those figures accurately reflect the ethnicity of people who go out and beat the shit out of each other, commit burglaries or other serious crimes. In fact, if there is disproportionate representation of people who commit the crimes then we have to highlight that fact and deal with it.

    The statements of the race relations conciliator fudge the problem and almost seem to try to sweep it under the carpet. His statements suggest that he is more interested in appearance than reality. So much so that I have difficulty believing the accuracy of the report.

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  9. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Again, what Big Bruv says and what BlairM says.

    Does anyone know when the marxist clown De Breses contract run out?

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  10. northern (44 comments) says:

    @ Nookin: Hear, hear! Well said. (Also DPF and others!)

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  11. Bob R (1,336 comments) says:

    ***“We have to very careful in the area of criminal justice because there is an unequal representation in terms of the people arrested, convicted and imprisoned,” Mr de Bres said.”***

    I agree, males are hugely overrepresented! What a ridiculous fool de Bres is.

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  12. Bob R (1,336 comments) says:

    ***I would have thought there were higher priority things for the international agencies to be concerned with:***

    Indeed. For instance, according to Amnesty International, Zimbabwe does not figure in the top 10 of African countries for what it calls “horrendous” human rights abuses; it comes instead towards the top of the second division for unlawful detentions, beatings, torture and executions.

    I think NZ might have a way to go to reach that level.

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  13. David Garrett (6,400 comments) says:

    I never thought I would say I am glad to be out of parliament…but the massive advantage is that as a private citizen, I can say what I really think.

    There are only two options: De Bres and the other clowns like him – and I include in that description the clowns at the UN – are either very badly advised, or they are simply knowingly misleading the gullible. How the New Zealand 3S scheme works has been explained again and again – by me and many others. And still the MSM print this shit.

    And the points made above are spot on – particularly that the legislation is entirely gender and race neutral. Candidates for 3S self select by committing repeated serious violent offences. (Yes, alright Graeme E, the theoretical much cited drunken grope is arguably not a particularly heinous crime).

    I am willing to bet what Bob Clarkson did that when the first third strikers start to be locked up in 5 years or so – assuming lenient sentences at stage 2 – there won’t be a drunken groper among them. Anyone receiving the maximum sentence prescribed by the Crimes Act at stage 3 will be a repeat serious violent offender.

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  14. David Garrett (6,400 comments) says:

    Nookin above is 100% right That man should stand for parliament – so long as he doesn’t have young kids, isnt worried about death threats, and didn’t do anything thoughtless and foolish 25 years ago….

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  15. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    ’3 strikes’ will ‘disproportionately affect Maori’

    Well, that’s because they commit more crimes. Their crimes are frequently against other Maori, including their children and wives, but also selling drugs to other Maori, fighting strangers, etc. Maori are more frequently victims of crime.

    One could argue that we’d be helping the majority of Maori by keeping criminals away for longer, helping to equalise their ability to live without worrying about their neighbour the child molester. By letting Maori crims off easily, they just go and ruin the lives of many innocent Maori.

    Oh, and the international agencies can’t comment on stoning, whipping, and female circumcision because those are predominantly Muslim cultural issues – to comment on it would violate freedom of religion.

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  16. projectman (204 comments) says:

    …”race relations conciliator…”

    Race relations appeaser more likely.

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  17. nasska (10,659 comments) says:

    The simple response to De Bres’ ill considered garbage would be somewhere along the lines of “socialist thinking shrinks your brain” or “voting Labour may be harmful to your frontal lobes” but I think it goes further than that. For some reason socialists seem to have reduced powers of comprehension.

    David Garrett has explained the workings of the legislation in parliament, to the media & repeatedly answered critics’ questions on this forum. Rex Widerstrom although vehemently opposed to the law knows fully how it works & what the results will mean in terms of sentences. Still idiots like De Bres & his ilk make wild erroneous statements about the poor brown offenders facing 25 years for minor crimes when even a cursory study of maximum sentences for each crime would show that no one can get a quarter of a century in the pound for burglary. The latest rubbish which amounts to a quota system for imprisonment shows just how closeted & out of touch with the real world a socialist idealist can get.

    The kindest interpretation is that the Race Relations Commissioner can’t read….. the alternative is that he is a lying social engineer.

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  18. backster (2,076 comments) says:

    His second 5 year appointment should be up in 2012. He is as good an example as I could provide as to why such appointments (if necessary at all) should be for the term of the governing party. This Marxist/Leninist/Maoist was the ideal appointment for the Clark led tyranny.

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  19. m@tt (587 comments) says:

    Repealing section 59 was not a ban on smacking either.
    But I suppose picking your battles trumps consistency eh.

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  20. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    Ha ha! That’s the problem with malignant c#nts, they don’t get along to well.

    Fade away now losers.

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  21. Longknives (4,454 comments) says:

    Tristanb -”that’s because they commit more crimes.”

    Expect a knock on the door from Mr De Bres any moment for such ‘outrageous’ race-based comments!

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  22. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    I have posted in the wrong thread!

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  23. Nookin (3,034 comments) says:

    Shunda
    Made everyone sit up and take notice, though. Well said whoever you were talking about.

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  24. big bruv (13,279 comments) says:

    peterwn

    - death penalty in China, USA, Japan, etc
    - whippings in Singapore
    - USA operating a justice and corrections system outside the scope of its constitution and legal processes
    - Joe Arpaio’s corrections system

    Nothing wrong with that list Peter, nothing at all.

    I could sleep well in my bed at night if I was the PM and had to sign off on the execution of a William Bell or Graham Burton, I doubt I would give it a passing thought.

    As for Joe Arpaio’s corrections system, well I think you may find that Sheriff Joe does not claim it to be a ‘corrections’ system, it is a punishment system, one that works and one that people are not keen to sample again.

    We need the same thing here, stuff the ‘human rights’ of criminals and stuff the idea of ‘correcting them’.

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  25. kowtow (7,616 comments) says:

    Sully our human rights record,…..international bodies………oh fuck off Jorie.!

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  26. Lance (2,451 comments) says:

    The ‘minority races’ affected here could really ‘stick it to the man’ and stop committing crime.

    A cunning plan

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  27. Johnboy (14,973 comments) says:

    Be fair Guys. If we locked all the scum away for the rest of their lives how would the lawyers fund their next vineyard, yacht or beemer.

    Against accumulation of huge wealth are you?

    Fuck I thought this was a right wing blog! :)

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  28. kowtow (7,616 comments) says:

    Johnboy,cause for thought. Those vineyards ,yachts and beemers should be seized by the state. They were bought out of the proceeds of crime. That’s a government intervention I could live with.

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  29. Rex Widerstrom (5,259 comments) says:

    Very sloppy reporting, which only serves to confuse people even further. DPF is right – the maximum sentence without parole for which an offender on their strike would be eligible depends entirely on their offence.

    Then the “reporter” worsens their error by not checking whether de Bries is correct in his assertion that the law breaches international standards. To allow such an assertion to stand without at least exploring its basis is beyond shoddy – it’s irresponsible.

    FWIW I believe the law does (though only a court of human rights could decide for sure), as do laws in many parts of the US. Whether we care about that depends on whether we want to be seen as another ill-educated, reactionary nation of rednecks or as one which has the integrity to honour the human rights obligations to which it freely signed up.

    For instance, the court in Hosking & Hosking v Runting & Pacific Magazines 101/03. (CA March 25, 2004 ) declared that tribunals and courts must consider human rights when interpreting laws. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “all people are equal before the law” and the NZ BORA restates the common law principle that decision-makers, including judges, should abide by the principles of natural justice.

    One of the components of natural justice is a prohibition on bias. Yet “3 strikes” legislates bias… a judge may not impose the sentence he or she sees fit for the offence, treating the offender as an individual, but must assume they are deserving of the harshest sentence under law, and impose it. An offender on a second or third strike could thus be argued to be not “equal before the law”, as they start off with a legislative handicap.

    Of course that’s just an idle Saturday afternoon’s quick construction of an argument. And equally anyone can (and I’m sure someone will) say that that construction is incorrect. I’m equally sure that one day – when someone with the resources to fight is sentenced on a third strike – such arguments will be tested before the courts. Hopefully that day will be soon.

    But till this law was introduced, no one could even have proferred the argument that NZ’s law breached its international human rights commitments because, in fact, we were a world leader in protecting and acknowledging them. I find that regrettable.

    What a political legacy.

    [Incidentally, I agree with other commenters regarding the astounding stupidity of de Bries' "disproportionately affecting Maori" comment. It disproportionately affects those who disproportionately offend].

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  30. wreck1080 (3,730 comments) says:

    These guys are outrageous saying maori are disproportionately affected .In fact, such a stupid statement makes the whole report redundant since it is obviously written by buffoons.

    What do they want? Quash convictions to maintain ethnicity based conviction proportionality? That is along the lines of what they are saying.

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  31. Nookin (3,034 comments) says:

    Rex. If we look at your argument of bias, surely it must follow thay the mandatory disqualification for certain driving offences and the restrictions on getting a limitied licence on subsequent offences must also constitute bias and therefore a breach of human rights. What about strict liability offences where there is a clear bias towards conviction and other cases where a defendant must establish the defence
    Even the fact of a blood test involves a legitimised assault on an individual and this would normally be regarded as a breach of human rights. They are justified on the basis that the interference with these rights and the bias trowards conviction are necessary to deal with the offences involved. It is a matter of the greater good. If you accept that argument then you have to accept the ability of Parliament to legislate severe consequences for repeated serious crime. The principle of which you complain is established in our law. The 3 strikes law might be the most significant, but then again it deals with the most significant crimes.

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  32. Still_Watchin_Ya_All (8 comments) says:

    As your former leader and continuing roll model I request – no, demand- that you show more respect to Horace Debris!

    My man can determine patterns of discrimination that you shallow citizens could not find with a microscope. This is because of his experience in Marxist determinism and skill with Marxist analytical tools.

    And stop knocking international agencies. You knowz we knowz best.

    H1,

    Manhattan.

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  33. Rex Widerstrom (5,259 comments) says:

    Nookin:

    If we look at your argument of bias, surely it must follow thay the mandatory disqualification for certain driving offences … must also constitute bias

    Yes, any mandatory or minimum sentencing breaches the right of a person to be judged on the totality of their actions by a judicial officer who has heard all the facts. And it is the thin end of the wedge. Already in some Australian states cars are being seized from speeders “for the greater good” even when the car belongs to someone else. A famous case in WA involves a GP who sent his Lamborghini in for a service and the mechanic got clocked speeding. The GP’s car was impounded – the mandatory penalty set down in law but also a clear breach of his right to natural justice.

    …and other cases where a defendant must establish the defence

    Actually I’d overlooked that trend but you raise a very germane point. The trend toward “guilty until proved innocent” offences (e.g. “unexplained wealth” provisions in criminal property seizure laws) is abhorrent, and an even worse abuse of basic legal rights than is “3 strikes” – at least we’re dealing in that instance with a person found guilty in a court.

    The only distinction I draw between mandatory penalty driving offences, say, and “3 strikes” is, as you point out, the offences are far more serious. The principle however, remains the same and a just society doesn’t trade away its principles simply to deal with a handful of its least deserving members.

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  34. Nookin (3,034 comments) says:

    Where are you, then, on the right to silence — with particular regard to the Kahui case?

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  35. Nookin (3,034 comments) says:

    Time to hit the sack — much as I am enjoying Tendulker and Sehwag. The whole issue of the 3 strikes law, as well as the instances that I mentioned and of which Rex has provided examples, is whether the legal system is entitled to interfere with the rights of some individuals in order to provide greater protection for the rights of others. I do not think this creates bias or lack of natural justice. There is usually a threshold that must be crossed before these so-called rights are affected. Although I cannot think of specific examples (it’s Saturday night for pete’s sake) in most cases it is the accused whose actions take him or her across the threshold. And the threshold is known in advance. If you drink and drive you are going to lose your licence. On the third strike the book is going to be thrown at you — and you have had not one but two clear warnings.

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  36. rachyrach83 (1 comment) says:

    Serious criminal offenders shouldn’t have human rights. Fuck ‘em. They don’t respect others so why should anyone give a toss about their poor feelings? I can’t believe this Joris idiot pulling out the race card. It seems some people are so PC that we can’t call a spade a spade without lefty twits like this asshole butting in, and Sue Bradford calling people Nazis. Socialist thinking people are deniers of reality. This is real life, not the Disney channel.

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  37. Rex Widerstrom (5,259 comments) says:

    Nookin:

    Interesting question. I look at it this way. Decent people lost the right to claim provocation because one nutjob misused it (and wouldn’t have won with it anyway). Decent people lost the “claim of right” defence because of unnecessary action at Waihopai. Are we to give up another right to the Kahuis?

    Civil libertarians in the US keep trying to make the point that if decent US citizens’ fundamental legal and human rights are destroyed in the name of protecting them from terrorism, then the terrorists are winning. The same argument applies to our home-grown “terrorists”.

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  38. Nookin (3,034 comments) says:

    Rex

    I do not agree that decent people lost any rights in the manner that you describe. Nor do I agree that the provocation defence went solely because of one nutjob. The Law Commission had already reccommended its repeal as far back as 2001. Sure, Weatherston brought it to light and showed the problems that the law can cause. Provocation can still be considered at sentencing.

    Is the defence of provocation a right? It seems to me to be more a matter of definition of the crime. I can’t help feeling that as soon as you talk about “rights”in the context of defences you are, in the case of provocation, to are talking about a right to kill if provoked and being convicted of manslaughter only. I

    The so called claim of right has not been lost. I have always been under the impression that the claim of right involves a belief that the activity is lawful. For example, if I mistakenly get into a silver subaru parked one row back from my car then I have a defence of claim of right to whatever is the relevant charge. I believe its my car. The Waihopai trio knew that the had no right to the property. If they thought that there was a right, why did they enter be stealth?

    They knew that what they were doing was unlawful. Their defence was that the ends justified the means. It was a self-help greater good action where they set themselves up as judge jury and executioner. I have never seen the defence used in this way before and I do not think it was ever contemplated that it could be. The Waihopai interpretation opens a can of worms and had to be modified (not extinguished). The defence is there for “decent people”. It is not there for nutbars who think they know best and, in the relevant case, deliberately destroy someone else’s property.

    The noteworthy feature of both examples given is that each involved a party, acting lawfully, having their right abrogated. Sophie lost her life and the government lost property. You say that Weathston would never have succeeded. I agree which is why I am interested in seeing the grounds of appeal. However, there has been at least one successful defence on the ground of provocation since then. I have no problem with the provocation issue in that case being dealt with in sentencing.

    I posted yesterday that these “rights”are only removed when a threshold is crossed. In each of these cases the crossing of the threshold had been deliberate and offender initiated. People now have a very clear idea of the consequences.

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  39. thedavincimode (6,531 comments) says:

    Nookin

    “Is he saying that police will investigate offences by Maori with more diligence and effectiveness than offences by non-Maori?”

    He seems to be saying that proportionately, Maori commit more crime. Gosh, is he really allowed to say that?

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  40. Nookin (3,034 comments) says:

    Thedavincimode

    For reasons of his own he is deliberately avoiding saying that. He talks about arrest, conviction and imprisonment. It would have been more truthful to say that more of them commit crimes in the first place.

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  41. Rex Widerstrom (5,259 comments) says:

    Nookin:

    First, what a pleasant change to engage on these issues with someone who’s thought about them, and debates them with something beyond “crim cuddler! *froth* Sherrif Joe *gak* whipping’s too good for ‘em”. I feel kinda guilty for taking up your time, but I spend all my time either preaching to the converted or arguing (in the main) with closed minds.

    I wasn’t aware that the “claim of right” defence had been modified, not removed… the media certainly portrayed it as the latter and IIRC, so did DPF. That’s a more sensible and measured response from the legislature.

    However I’m still uneasy. A judge is more than capable of interpreting not just statute but – most importantly – hundreds of years of common law. Where no clear NZ precedent exists they can even consider decided cases from other jurisdictions. Courts are extremely careful (too careful sometimes, in my view) to follow precedent and thus provide consistency.

    To panic at the thought that one “outrider” case might conceivably be won on the basis of a long held precedent, based in turn on statute, and pass a law wiping that precedebt from history (or radically modifying its applicability) is, in my view, wrong.

    If it were properly debated and widely consulted then perhaps. But we have a system where MPs never vote their conscience, debate is meaningless and many MPs have no idea what they’re voting on. Nowhere is the level of engagement of MPs in the Parliamentary process illustrated better than in the Gordon Copeland / Hone Harawira snafus. Didn’t vote on the issues supposedly closest to their hearts because they were so used to having their choices made for them.

    What has happened in these instances is that one man – Simon Power – has bristled with indignation that a defendant should attempt to proffer what he sees as an inappropriate defence and, with the complicity of just a handful of power brokers within the parties, has set about dismantling it.

    We can debate whether the outcome of those actions will have a deleterious effect on the application of law and, to some degree, I take the points you make above – though not entirely.

    But I’m arguing from a stance of principle. There has been many a time someone has, IMO, over-reacted to an offender’s presence and severly wounded or killed them in a premeditated manner (e.g. Bruce Emery). It would be easy to call for the removal, or crippling, of the defence of self defence, but I don’t. I believe we have to let the courts try the facts and rule, and it is not the place of Parliament to start watering down common law defences, because that way lies a very slippery slope indeed.

    Might some people thus receive lesser punishments than perhaps they ought to have received? Probably. But just like the adage about better a hundred guilty men go free than one innocent man be imprisoned unjustly, better one man gets away with using a common law defence inappropriately than a hundred lose the right to claim it and have that claim tested in court.

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  42. Nookin (3,034 comments) says:

    I will check the claim of right modification. My understanding is that modification was always intended – not removal. Claim of right cannot be removed altogether because it is the absence of claim of right that is the essence of some offences – eg in theft cases. I agree that Power’s actions reeked of populist hip-shooting but that does not necessarily make it wrong. Sometimes we get the right answers by going about things the wrong way – just not very often. Don’t worry about taking up my time. Theories are only tested by listening to counter-theories.

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  43. Rex Widerstrom (5,259 comments) says:

    Nookin:

    the absence of claim of right that is the essence of some offences

    Excellent point… I hadn’t thought of it in those terms but that makes perfect sense. Hopefully someone in the Ministry figured out that you can’t fiddle with the “yin” without also potentially affecting the “yang”!

    Sometimes we get the right answers by going about things the wrong way – just not very often.

    And that’s what worries me most. When you have fruitcakes like Micael Lhaws inciting mob violence against Christchurch looters based on the one case that should be seen as exceptional in the other direction (the young Aspergers sufferer caught pinching lightbulbs) it would be all too easy for a politician to “adjust” the law so that “being really, really, pissed off during a major crisis” became a defence to grevious bodily harm, say.

    Like I said, bad, reactionary law making is a slippery slope down which I don’t want us to proceed. That we’ve slipped in ways that haven’t done us a great deal of harm so far is no recommendation to continue our descent.

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  44. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Most of the above is the usual bigoted filth one expects from this site.

    While I agree with Rex W on the three strikes measure, without exception, not one poster, including Rex, examines the question at the core of this particular issue: why are Maori over-represented in our crime statistics? And our welfare statistics. And in our socio-economic tables, at the bottom end.

    Think about it.

    Do you believe Maori are just genetically predisposed to take to crime?

    Do you believe Maori are economically inept, because they are Maori?

    If so, you need to widen your reading, and, yes, if you do, you wear your racism on your sleeve.

    Look around the world, and see all the peoples that are in exactly the same position as our indigenous Maori, and you will see mainly indigenous, conquered people.

    Is that just coincidence?

    Or is that why the three strikes law is, at its core, racist.

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