Life without parole to be sought

Blair Ensor at Stuff reports:

Double child killer Jeremy George McLaughlin could today become the first murderer in New Zealand to be jailed for the rest of his natural life.

The Press understands the Crown will seek the toughest penalty – life in prison without parole – when McLaughlin appears at the High Court in Christchurch for sentencing this morning.

That would be a first. Many are unaware that the law which introduced three strikes also introduced the penalty of life without parole to be available for the worst murders.

The 35-year-old was found guilty at trial in April of strangling schoolgirl Jade Bayliss, 13, stealing items from her family’s Barrington St home and torching it in November 2011.

The jury did not know he had previously been convicted of killing Phillip Vidot, 14, in Perth years earlier.

Two dead children is enough. Let’s not risk a third.

Even if McLaughlin avoids the toughest penalty, he is likely to be jailed for more than 20 years.

Crown prosecutor Brent Stanaway this week declined to comment about the case.

Human Rights lawyer Michael Bott, who has had no involvement with the case, said the Crown would probably rely on psychological reports, which would need to demonstrate that McLaughlin presented an ongoing risk to society.

“Most people would be perturbed by the nature of the crime in itself. It would be the level of risk that this person would present.”

Criminologist Greg Newbold said some hardened criminals deserved to be locked away for ever.

“I think there are some people who have committed crimes so horrific that they should never be released.

“They have forfeited their right to freedom permanently.

“He [McLaughlin] could well be such a person.”

I guess the question is that if McLaughlin doesn’t qualify, who ever would?

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