The Government could set up a public register of serious criminals deported from Australia, under drastic planned law changes to improve trans-Tasman information sharing.
The murder of Christchurch teenager Jade Bayliss has “really focused everyone’s minds” on ensuring the new law becomes a reality, Justice Murther inister Judith Collins told The Press last night.
It’s a good idea, and we have seen the tragic consequences of not having this info. But why not a register of all serious criminals? Criminal convictions are not private – they are a matter of public record and should be publicly available.
Documents reveal a list of pros and cons for making the details about serious criminals publicly available.
A public register could impact on an individual’s right to a fair trial if information about previous offences could be accessed.
However, that was countered by the potential for improved public safety.
If an individual is charged with a further offence, then the Govt can just remove their entry during the trial. Having a Govt register actually makes it easier to do this, than having private groups such as the SST having to run their own registers.
Last month The Press revealed Bayliss approached police with concerns about Jeremy George McLaughlin, 35, four days before he strangled her 13-year-old daughter Jade and torched their Barrington St home in November 2011.
She was unaware McLaughlin spent time in jail for killing Perth teenager Phillip Vidot in 1995 before he was deported back to New Zealand in 2001.
She was given trespass papers to serve against McLaughlin if he showed up at her home.
However, police were unable to tell her the details of the killer’s past because of constraints about what they can reveal about a person’s criminal history.
Bayliss has pledged to campaign for better access to information about serious criminals.
How heart breaking that she even asked Police, and the dumb law meant they could not tell her. Public safety must come first.