Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:
Victims will soon have much more freedom in what they say in impact statements to court, under reforms announced today.
At the moment the victims of violence and other serious offences must ask permission from the judge to read out a statement, before sentencing, saying how a crime has affected them.
They are also banned from mentioning a range of details and a number of victims have been left upset after a judge has censored their words.
Gil Elliott, the father of murder victim Sophie, and Rachel Kitson, mother of slain Christchurch woman Vanessa Pickering, were left distraught when their statements were edited.
It has been outraegous that the criminals get to say whatever they like in court, often blackening the names of their victims, yet the families of the victims get their words censored.
Who cares if the parents of a murder victim, call the killer a scum suckling lowlife, and they hope he burns in hell. So long as they don’t actually advocate ilegal acts they should be allowed to say what they genuinely feel. Forcing them to read out a statement which they did not author, re-victimises them.
This is not a huge change in terms of the courts, but a very important one for victims and their families.Tags: law & order